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intermezzo

intermezzo (ĭntərmĕtˈsō, –mĕdˈzō) [key]. 1 Any theatrical entertainment of a light nature performed between the divisions of a longer, more serious work. 2 In the 17th and 18th cent., a short independent comic scene with everyday characters was interpolated between acts of serious operas. In the 18th cent. it developed into opera buffa (see opera); a famous example is Pergolesi's La serva padrona. 3 In the 19th cent., a short independent piece having the character of an interlude, or a movement of such character in a larger work such as a symphony or sonata. It was a favorite form of Schumann and Brahms.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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