The word comes from the Latin praeladium and means the previous experience of something. Thus, a prelude is what allows us to introduce something different. In this way, dark clouds are the prelude to a storm , just as kisses can be the prelude to a romantic relationship . Therefore, we are faced with a term that expresses the initial moments of a later event.
It can be said that this concept is used when one wants to imply that something is going to happen. This is due to the logical sequence of many everyday events, such as loving kisses, clouds and storms, insults and violence , etc.
A warning of what will happen
Certain events are so frequent that first something happens and then another circumstance comes. Let’s think about carnival, this popular festival is the prelude to Lent. The same happens with the cycles of nature, for example, the change of weather and the appearance of the countryside is part of the prelude to spring. From a cultural point of view, the prologue of a book is a text whose function means to announce or introduce a work. On the other hand, it should be noted that the verb prelude is equivalent to preparing, enunciating or anticipating.
It should be noted that the prelude is not always used in a restricted sense (A is a prelude to B), but it can be used in a figurative sense.
Thus, when it is stated: “His shy eyes and trembling hands were the prelude to an intense love story” it means the romantic description of an event and the word prelude is used to emphasize the message.
the musical prelude
In the musical context, the prelude term has another meaning. Originally, it refers to the opening moments of a performance in which a musician or several of them play their instruments and improvise some kind of sound to prepare before the performance. As time went by, this original meaning changed and from the 15th century onwards, the prelude concept started to be used as an independent piece and as a defined musical genre.
In musical language, it is a free piece that precedes another, for example, a fugue or a toccata. There are also musical preludes to some dance performances or as an introductory part of an opera. From the 19th century onwards, the musical prelude came to be understood in a completely independent way, therefore, it did not precede any musical piece, in the same way as happens with the 24 preludes by Chopin or some of Debussy’s creations.