Incidental music

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The term incidental music refers to music on stage in a play or an opera .

Incidental music is often more broadly synonymous with incidental music used for all music coming during a theater performance.

Stage music in the narrower sense is an integral part of the plot, i.e. it is sung or played by the characters in a drama - in contrast to music that comes from the orchestra pit or from loudspeakers. It is music that is heard not only by the actors or singers, but also by the characters portrayed. The term stage music can also mean a music ensemble that is integrated into the plot and plays on or behind the stage. For incidental music in this sense, the Italian term Banda is often used in opera scores .

In Mozart's opera Don Giovanni (1787), three orchestras play different dance music on the stage in the finale of the first act ( ballroom ). At the same time, as usual, the orchestra plays in the orchestra pit, which is not part of the stage music. In 19th century Italian opera, a banda often plays the incidental music that is not notated part for part in the orchestral score because their part was arranged at each performance location for the local brass band that was on stage in their uniform.

Diegetic music in film is comparable to the concept of stage music .


  • Manfred Brauneck, Gérard Schnellin (Ed.): Theater Lexikon. Volume 1: Terms and epochs, stages and ensembles (= Rowohlt's Encyclopedia. 417). Rowohlt, Hamburg 1986, ISBN 3-499-55417-8 , pp. 216-217.

See also