A short piece of music that is performed between larger sections or acts of a longer composition

"Intermezzo" refers to a short, independent musical composition or movement that is inserted between two larger sections of a longer work, such as an opera, ballet, or a multi-movement instrumental piece. Intermezzos serve as brief interludes that provide contrast, relief, or a change of mood between the main sections of a work.

Key characteristics of an Intermezzo include:

  • Interlude: Intermezzos act as musical interludes between acts or scenes in an opera or ballet, or between movements in a larger instrumental work. They can serve to break the dramatic tension, provide a moment of reflection, or introduce a new thematic element.
  • Independent Composition: While an Intermezzo is connected to the larger work in which it appears, it is often a standalone composition, complete in itself. It may be performed separately in concert settings.
  • Contrasting Mood: Intermezzos can introduce a contrasting mood, style, or tempo compared to the surrounding sections of the work. They offer a temporary diversion from the main storyline or musical themes.
  • Expressive Variety: Composers use Intermezzos to explore different emotional or stylistic elements, offering a change of pace and expression.
  • Instrumentation: Intermezzos can be composed for various instrumental ensembles, including solo instruments, chamber groups, or orchestras, depending on the context of the larger work.

Intermezzos are valued for their ability to provide a brief respite or shift in focus within a larger work, enriching the overall experience for both performers and audiences. They allow composers to add depth and variety to their compositions, contributing to the overall narrative or emotional arc of the work.

Example of Intermezzo

(HD 1080p) Intermezzo from Cavalleria Rusticana, Pietro Mascagni