interlude

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in·ter·lude / ˈintərˌloōd/ • n. 1. an intervening period of time: enjoying a lunchtime interlude. ∎  a pause between the acts of a play. 2. something performed during a theater intermission: an orchestral interlude. ∎  a piece of music played between other pieces or between the verses of a hymn. ∎  a temporary amusement or source of entertainment that contrasts with what goes before or after: the romantic interlude withered rapidly once he was back in town. ORIGIN: Middle English (originally denoting a light dramatic entertainment): from medieval Latin interludium, from inter- ‘between’ + ludus ‘play.’

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interlude, development in the late 15th cent. of the English medieval morality play. Played between the acts of a long play, the interlude, treating intellectual rather than moral topics, often contained elements of satire or farce. The form developed in Italy as the intermedio and intermezzo, in France as the entremet or intermede and as the entrée, which involved only dance. In Spain the entremés became an independent form as in the work of Cervantes.

See E. K. Chambers, The Medieval Stage (1903); V. F. Hopper and G. B. Lahey, ed., Medieval Mysteries, Moralities and Interludes (1962).

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interlude Short theatrical piece, prominent in the late 15th and early 16th centuries, which provided entertainment during royal and noble banquets. Performed by a small travelling company, it combined moral messages with clowning, and is sometimes seen as the starting point for English drama. It was the immediate precursor of Elizabethan comedy.

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interlude. Piece of mus. played between other pieces, such as an org. passage played between verses of a hymn, or between the acts of a play, or between scenes in an opera (e.g. the Sea Interludes in Britten's Peter Grimes). Also used as a title of a mus. work without above connotations.

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interlude light or humorous dramatic representation, (later XVII–XVIII) comedy, farce XIV; interval in the performance of a play XVII; intervening time or space XVIII. — medL. interlūdium, f. INTER- + lūdus play.