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Prelude (Fr. prélude; Ger. Vorspiel; It., Sp. preludio; Lat. praeludium, praeambulum)locked

  • David Ledbetter
  •  and Howard Ferguson


A term of varied application that, in its original usage, indicated a piece that preceded other music whose tonic, mode, or key it was designed to introduce; was instrumental (the roots ludus and Spiel mean ‘played’ as opposed to ‘sung’); and was improvised (hence the French ...

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Die Musik in Geschichte und Gegenwart
H.M. Brown: Instrumental Music Printed Before 1600: a Bibliography (Cambridge, MA, 1965)
Early Music
Cambridge, Fitzwilliam Museum, Dept of Manuscripts and Printed Books
The New Oxford History of Music (Oxford, 1954-90)