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(ĭntərmĕt`sō, –mĕd`zō). 1 Any theatrical entertainment of a light nature performed between the divisions of a longer, more serious work. 2 In the 17th and 18th cent., a short independent comic scene with everyday characters was interpolated between acts of serious operas. In the 18th cent. it developed into opera buffa (see operaopera,
drama set to music. Characteristics

The libretto may be serious or comic, although neither form necessarily excludes elements of the other. Opera differs from operetta in its musical complexity and usually in its subject matter.
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); a famous example is PergolesiPergolesi, Giovanni Battista
, 1710–36, Italian composer of the Neapolitan school. Although he died at the age of 26, he is credited with masterpieces in two fields of music: La serva padrona (The Maid as Mistress, c.
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's La serva padrona. 3 In the 19th cent., a short independent piece having the character of an interlude, or a movement of such character in a larger work such as a symphony or sonata. It was a favorite form of Schumann and Brahms.



(1) An instrumental piece performed between the two more important parts of a cyclic work (R. Schumann’s Piano Concerto) or between the basic sections of a one-part composition (similar to a trio; the scherzo from Schumann’s Piano Sonata Opus 11).

(2) An independent “characteristic” instrumental piece of free structure, for example, Schumann’s Intermezzo for Piano Opus 5 and pieces by J. Brahms and M. Reger.

(3) An intermedium.


1. a short piece of instrumental music composed for performance between the acts or scenes of an opera, drama, etc.
2. an instrumental piece either inserted between two longer movements in an extended composition or intended for independent performance
3. another name for interlude (sense 2)