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intermezzo

[in-ter-met-soh, -med-zoh] /ˌɪn tərˈmɛt soʊ, -ˈmɛd zoʊ/
noun, plural intermezzos, intermezzi
[in-ter-met-see, -med-zee] /ˌɪn tərˈmɛt si, -ˈmɛd zi/ (Show IPA)
1.
a short dramatic, musical, or other entertainment of light character, introduced between the acts of a drama or opera.
2.
a short musical composition between main divisions of an extended musical work.
3.
a short, independent musical composition.
Origin
1805-1815
1805-15; < Italian < Late Latin intermedium; see intermediary
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for intermezzo

intermezzo

/ˌɪntəˈmɛtsəʊ/
noun (pl) -zos, -zi (-tsiː)
1.
a short piece of instrumental music composed for performance between the acts or scenes of an opera, drama, etc
2.
an instrumental piece either inserted between two longer movements in an extended composition or intended for independent performance
3.
another name for interlude (sense 3)
Word Origin
C19: from Italian, from Late Latin intermedium interval; see intermediate
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin and History for intermezzo
n.

1834, from Italian intermezzo "short dramatic performance between the acts of a play or opera," literally "that which is between," from Latin intermedius (see intermediate).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Encyclopedia Article for intermezzo

in music and theatre, an entertainment performed between the acts of a play; also a light instrumental composition. In the late 15th and 16th centuries, classical and contemporary plays were performed with intermezzi written by the finest composers of the time and consisting of solo songs, madrigals and other part-songs, dance, and, occasionally, spoken dialogue. In subject matter, they were often allegorical or pastoral.

Learn more about intermezzo with a free trial on Britannica.com
Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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