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(in music), a section which precedes the main theme of a work or one of its parts and which prepares the way for the appearance of that theme. This preparation consists in anticipating the character and intonations of the theme or in setting off the theme by contrast. An introduction may be either very brief or very lengthy; it may be composed of passages or chords (the finale of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 3), or it may consist of a striking musical theme which is subsequently developed in the music (the first part of P. I. Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 4). Sometimes the introduction becomes an independent piece—for example, in instrumental music and especially in large-scale vocal-instrumental and stage works, where it constitutes a kind of overture (P. I. Tchaikovsky’s opera Eugene Onegin and Wagner’s opera Lohengrin).
(1) A short opening to the first movement or the finale of cyclic instrumental works (symphonies, divertimenti, string quartets) or to one-part instrumental compositions.
(2) A brief overture in opera or ballet; also an orchestral opening to a separate act of an opera.
(3) A vocal ensemble or choral scene in opera immediately after the overture and serving as an opening to the first act of the opera, for example, in M. I. Glinka’s Ivan Susanin and Ruslan and Ludmilla.
Union of Soviet Socialist Republics
The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (the USSR or the Soviet Union) is the first socialist all-people’s state in history, expressing the will and interests of the working class, peasantry, and intelligentsia and of all the nations (natsii, nations in the historical sense) and nationalities of the country.
The USSR borders on 12 countries: Norway, Finland, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, and Rumania in the west and Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan, the People’s Republic of China, the Mongolian People’s Republic, and the People’s Democratic Republic of Korea in the south. The total length of the state’s borders is more than 60,000 km (1½ times the length of the equator). The USSR also borders on 12 seas, belonging to the basins of three oceans—the Arctic, Atlantic, and Pacific oceans.
The USSR is the largest country in area, occupying nearly one-sixth of the world’s inhabited area, or 22,402,200 sq km. In population, with a total of 266.6 million people (as of Jan. 1, 1981), it ranks third, after China and India. The capital is the city of Moscow. The Soviet Union is a multinational state, uniting 15 Union republics (see Table 1, page 2).
The USSR lies in Asia and Europe; the Asiatic part of the USSR occupies about 75 percent of the total land area, and the European part, about 25 percent. The northernmost point in the continental USSR is Cheliuskin Cape (77°43′ N lat.); the northernmost point of the entire USSR is Fligel’ Cape on Rudolf Island (81°49′ N lat.). The southernmost point is the aul (mountain village) of Chil’dukhter, near the city of Kushka (35°08′ N lat.). The total extent of the country from north to south is about 5,000 km. From east to west, the total extent, from the Baltic Spit of the Gulf of Gdańsk (19°38’ E long.) to the Dezhnev Cape (169°40′ W long.), is nearly twice as great. The easternmost point is the island of Ratmanov in the Bering Strait (169°02′ W long.).
The USSR spans 11 time zones.