incidental music

noun
music intended primarily to point up or accompany parts of the action of a play or to serve as transitional material between scenes.

Origin:
1860–65

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World English Dictionary
incidental music
 
n
background music for a film, television programme, etc

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Encyclopedia Britannica
Encyclopedia

incidental music

music written to accompany or point up the action or mood of a dramatic performance on stage, film, radio, television, or recording; to serve as a transition between parts of the action; or to introduce or close the performance. Because it is written to enhance a nonmusical medium, most incidental music makes little impression on public taste. But some incidental music survives in its own right. Significant examples of such lasting work are Ludwig van Beethoven's music for J.W. von Goethe's Egmont (1810), Felix Mendelssohn's music for William Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream, Georges Bizet's L'Arlesienne suite for Alphonse Daudet's play, and Edvard Grieg's incidental music for Henrik Ibsen's Peer Gynt.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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Example sentences
If incidental music or sound effects are used, final product must be reviewed closely and thoroughly.
Others include written stage directions or instructions for scenery, costuming, and incidental music.
Special incidental music was provided on a mechanical orchestral player.
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