late 15c., "accomplishment, completion" (of something), from perform + -ance. Meaning "that which is accomplished, a thing performed" is from 1590s; that of "action of performing a play, etc." is from 1610s; that of "a public entertainment" is from 1709. The earlier noun in Middle English was performing (late 14c.) "state of completion, accomplishment of an act." Performance art is attested from 1971.
early 15c., "pertaining to music;" mid-15c., "tuneful, harmonious;" late 15c., "adept at making music," from Medieval Latin musicalis, from Latin musica (see music). Related: Musically. Musical box is from 1829. Children's or parlor game musical chairs is attested from 1862, hence use of musical as a modifier meaning "changing rapidly from one to another possessor" (1924).
Instrumental and vocal music, the quadrille and country-dance, occupy a portion of the time. No waltzing is however permitted. After dancing, round games follow, as Terza, "The Post," Musical Chairs, Cross Questions, all tending to amuse and promote exercise, until the partial extinguishing of the gas, at ten p.m., gives warning of approaching bedtime. [The Rev. R. Wodrow Thomson, "Ben Rhydding, the Asclepia of England," 1862]
In mid-19c. makers of musical boxes also advertised musical chairs, "playing beautiful tunes simply by the weight of the person sitting in them."
"musical party, private concert or performance," 1872, from French musicale, short for soirée musicale "musical evening (party);" see musical (adj.).
"introductory performance; a preliminary to an action event or work," 1560s, from French prélude "notes sung or played to test the voice or instrument" (1530s), from Medieval Latin preludium "prelude, preliminary," from Latin praeludere "to play beforehand for practice, preface," from prae- "before" (see pre-) + ludere "to play" (see ludicrous). Purely musical sense of "movement or piece forming the introduction to a musical work" is attested in English by 1650s. Related: Preludial; prelusive; prelusory; preludious; prelusion.
1510s, a legal term, "that part of a deed which contains a rehearsal or statement of relevant facts," from recite (v.) + -al (2). From 1560s as "that which is recited, a story." The meaning "act of reciting, a telling over, narration" is from 1610s; musical performance sense is from 1811 (especially one given by a single performer).
1902, in the classical sense, from Greek ōideion "building for musical performance," from Greek ōidē "song, ode" (see ode). The chain of lavish cinema theaters operated under that name by 1930 (the name had been used earlier for cinema theaters in France and Italy).
early 15c., reprisen, "begin (an activity) again," from Old French repris, past participle of reprendre, from Latin reprehendere "to blame, censure, rebuke; seize, restrain," literally "pull back, hold back" (see reprehend). Obsolete in this sense; the modern meaning "repeat a (theatrical, musical, etc.) performance" is by 1965, perhaps a new formation from the verb. Related: Reprised; reprising.
1935 (transitive) "give (an applicant for a performance part) a trial or test," from audition (n.). The intransitive sense "try out for a performance part" is by 1938. Related: Auditioned; auditioning.