prelude - definition and synonyms

noun [countable] 

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  1. 1
    music a short piece of music that introduces a longer piece of music
    1. a.
      music a short piece of music, often one that is played on the piano
       Synonyms and related words
    2. b.
      music a piece of music played before a ceremony in a church
       Synonyms and related words
  2. 2
    an event that happens before and introduces a more important event
    prelude to:

    The deal is a prelude to a merger of the two companies.