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prelude (n.)

"introductory performance; a preliminary to an action event or work," 1560s, from Middle 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 first attested in English 1650s. Related: Prelusion.

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Definitions of prelude from WordNet
1
prelude (v.)
serve as a prelude or opening to;
prelude (v.)
play as a prelude;
2
prelude (n.)
something that serves as a preceding event or introduces what follows;
Synonyms: preliminary / overture
prelude (n.)
music that precedes a fugue or introduces an act in an opera;
From wordnet.princeton.edu