"Prelude" work type

I’d like to request that “Prelude” be added to the list of Work types.

I came across this recent edit of a work, adding the work type of “Overture.” Since the work in question is titled as a prelude rather than an overture, I decided to see what I could find.

From everything I’ve been able to find on the subject, it appears that “prelude” and “overture” are not synonymous in classical music. While the difference is just vague enough that I don’t fully grasp it, the classical community does seem to value the distinction. So I think it would be a good idea to add this option to the Work Type list.

1 Like

There’s at least two kinds of prelude :slight_smile: One is something like this for Wagner’s operas, and that’s probably close enough to an overture to set it as such. Then there’s the (mostly standalone) pieces described in Prelude (music) - Wikipedia. Arguably that second could be a type, even though the meaning has changed somewhat over time - so has the meaning of sonata.

Shouldn’t we defer to the way the works are titled by the composer?

Generally yes, but these things can be confusing. For example, some Italian composers named their overtures “sinfonia”, which makes it sound like a symphony instead! Overture - Wikipedia has more info, including “In 19th-century opera the overture, Vorspiel, Einleitung, Introduction, or whatever else it may be called, is generally nothing more definite than that portion of the music which takes place before the curtain rises.”

Sinfonia is not Symphony. Most Bach Cantatas start with a Sinfonia movement.

Sinfonia is literally Italian for Symphony and is used like that too, example. But of course, it’s also used for several other things, including overtures and even sometimes keyboard pieces :smiley: