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(prā′lo͞od′, -lyo͞od′; prĕl′o͞od′, -yo͞od′; prē′lo͞od′, -lyo͞od′)
1. An introductory performance, event, or action preceding a more important one; a preliminary or preface.
2. Music
a. A piece or movement that serves as an introduction to another section or composition and establishes the key, such as one that precedes a fugue, opens a suite, or precedes a church service.
b. A similar but independent composition for the piano.
c. The overture to an oratorio, opera, or act of an opera.
d. A short composition of the 1400s and early 1500s written in a free style, usually for keyboard.
v. prel·ud·ed, prel·ud·ing, prel·udes
v. tr.
1. To serve as a prelude to.
2. To introduce with or as if with a prelude.
v. intr.
To serve as a prelude or introduction.

[Medieval Latin praelūdium, from Latin praelūdere, to play beforehand : prae-, pre- + lūdere, to play; see leid- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]

prel′ud′er n.
pre·lu′di·al (prĭ-lo͞o′dē-əl) adj.
Usage Note: How should prelude be pronounced? In our 2015 survey, 72 percent of the Usage Panel preferred a long a (pronounced "pray") and 25 percent a short e (pronounced "prell") for the first syllable. The absence or presence of a glide—a short (y) sound—after coronal consonants such as d, t, or l is a regional variation. People who pronounce duty as (do͞o′tē) also tend to omit the glide after the l in prelude: (prā′lo͞od′). Those who pronounce duty as (dyo͞o′tē) will tend to include the glide: (prā′lyo͞od′).
References in periodicals archive ?
The tracks are "Tender Story", "Uplifting Piano", "The Old Neighborhood", "Beautiful Moment", "A Leap of Heart", "Preludial Moon", "The Years Gone By", "Deep In Your Eyes", "Hymn to Rain", "Ecstatic Musing", "Twilight Reverie", "My Heart Is Yours", "Clouds and Bicycles", "Dark Mood Sets", "You Are My Sun and Moon", and "Hope Breaks Out".
The present volume 1 contains twenty-five short preludial and contrapuntal compositions (toccatas, canzonas, and ricercars).
Since the work presented in this section considers PPTA fibers which are initially either perfectly crystalline or crystalline but contain various defects, fibers which are subjected to tensile loading directly or after being subjected to a preludial axial compression and attention is paid to both defect-induced and compression-induced changes in the material microstructure and the longitudinal tensile strength, the corresponding results are presented and discussed within separate sections (each dealing with a particular case of the fiber crystallinity and prior axial compression).