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Overture (from French ouverture, introduction) in music is an instrumental (usually an orchestral) play performed before the start of any performance – a theater performance, opera, ballet, motion picture, etc., or a one-part orchestra piece, often owned to program music.
Overture prepares the listener for the upcoming action.
The tradition of announcing the beginning of the performance with a short musical signal existed long before the term “overture” was entrenched in the works of first French and then other European composers of the 17th century. Until the middle of the 18th century Overtures were composed according to strictly defined rules: their lofty, generalized music usually had no connection with the subsequent action. However, the requirements for the overture gradually changed: it was increasingly subordinated to the general artistic design of the work.
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