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overture

overture (from Fr. ouverture, opening).
1. Piece of instr. mus. which precedes opera, oratorio, or play. Lully est. the French overture in a 3-movt. style of slow–fast(fugal)–slow (concluding section). The Italian overture, introduced by A. Scarlatti, also had 3 movts., quick–slower–quick (see symphony). Gluck was the first to give ovs. a thematic connection with what followed. Weber's ovs. were orchestral synopses of the opera. But in It. opera, ovs. were still used as a way of stopping the audience talking and giving latecomers a chance to reach their seats. Thus one of Rossini's ovs. did duty for 3 of his operas (incl. Il barbiere di Siviglia). Wagner preferred the term Vorspiel (Prelude). In the 20th cent., operatic ovs. have become rare, composers often bringing up the curtain immediately. Strauss's orch. introduction to Der Rosenkavalier is almost an ov., as is the sextet which opens Capriccio. For his comic opera Die schweigsame Frau he wrote a potpourri, a medley of tunes from the opera in the style of the composers of light operas, e.g. Sullivan.

2. Term sometimes used as equivalent of suite (by Handel and Bach) or symphony ( Haydn's London programmes 1791).

3. See concert overture.

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overture

overture, instrumental musical composition written as an introduction to an opera, ballet, oratorio, musical, or play. The earliest Italian opera overtures were simply pieces of orchestral music and were called sinfonie. Jean Baptiste Lully standardized the French overture, using an opening section in pompous chordal style and dotted rhythms followed by a fugal section. This type of overture was much imitated, an example being the overture to Handel's Messiah. In some of the 17th-century Neapolitan operas, to some extent in Jean Philippe Rameau's operas and most notably in Gluck's, the overture began to foreshadow what was to come in the work's tunes. In many 19th-century operas and 20th-century musicals the overture is simply a potpourri of the work's tunes. The concert overture, a composition in one movement that may be in any of a variety of styles, arose in the 19th cent.; the overtures of Brahms, Mendelssohn, and Beethoven are outstanding.

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overture

o·ver·ture / ˈōvərchər; -ˌchoŏr/ • n. 1. an introduction to something more substantial: the talks were no more than an overture to a long debate. ∎  (usu. overtures) an approach or proposal made to someone with the aim of opening negotiations or establishing a relationship: Coleen listened to his overtures of love. 2. Mus. an orchestral piece at the beginning of an opera, suite, play, oratorio, or other extended composition. ∎  an independent orchestral composition in one movement.

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overture

overture †opening, aperture XIV; opening of negotiations XV; (Sc.) formal motion in an assembly XVI; (mus.) orchestral piece forming the introduction to a work XVII. — OF. overture (now ouverture) :- popL. *opertūra for L. apertūra APERTURE.

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overture

overture Instrumental prelude to an opera or operetta; the term now also includes an orchestral composition in its own right, usually lively in character. Famous operatic overtures were composed by Mozart, Rossini, and Wagner.

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overture

overtureabjure, adjure, allure, amour, assure, Bahawalpur, boor, Borobudur, Cavour, coiffure, conjure, couture, cure, dastur, de nos jours, doublure, dour, embouchure, endure, ensure, enure, gravure, immature, immure, impure, inure, Jaipur, Koh-i-noor, Kultur, liqueur, lure, manure, mature, moor, Moore, Muir, mure, Nagpur, Namur, obscure, photogravure, plat du jour, Pompadour, procure, pure, rotogravure, Ruhr, Saussure, secure, simon-pure, spoor, Stour, sure, tour, Tours, velour, Yom Kippur, you're •tambour • prefecture • caricature •armature •tamandua, tandoor •Dartmoor • Exmoor • Hawksmoor •paramour • Papua • Jabalpur •Manipur • Jodhpur • Kuala Lumpur •Kolhapur • Karlsruhe • Joshua •cynosure • Fraktur • détour • contour •Paduajaguar, Managua, Nicaragua •vacua • valuer • Langmuir • mantua •arguer • residua •continua, continuer •pedicure • manicure • sinecure •epicure • conure •bordure, ordure •Saumur • nunciature • overture •couverture • coverture • purpure

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