A piece of music for the orchestra to play at the beginning of an opera or ballet

"Overture" is a type of musical composition typically found at the beginning of operas, ballets, plays, concerts, or other performances. Its primary purpose is to introduce the audience, establish the emotional tone, themes, and musical style of the forthcoming work. Overtures are usually standalone musical pieces, but they are related to the work that follows and often contain themes and musical elements that will appear in the subsequent work.

Overtures can have different styles and characteristics, depending on the nature of the work they accompany. Here are some common types of overtures:

  • Opera Overture: Opera overtures typically appear at the beginning of operas, introducing the main characters and plot. They may include major melodies from the opera and themes that play a significant role in the storyline.
  • Ballet Overture: Ballet overtures aim to provide a brief introduction to the dances and plot that will be performed. They often include fast-paced music to create energy and rhythm.
  • Dramatic Overture: In plays, the overture can provide a musical backdrop for the beginning of the play and set the mood for the themes. It may reflect the primary emotions and atmosphere of the drama.
  • Concert Overture: Concert overtures frequently appear at the beginning of concerts or orchestral performances, preparing the audience and introducing the musical themes to come.

Overtures hold a significant place in music, as they not only serve as an introduction to a musical work but also establish the emotional and thematic context. Many renowned composers, such as Mozart, Beethoven, Wagner, and others, have composed brilliant overtures that have become an integral part of their works and are often performed independently in concert settings.

Example of Overture

Tchaikovsky - 1812 Overture (Full with Cannons)