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The term Entracte or Entr'acte ( French : intermediate act) refers to the instrumental music that is played in the pause between the acts or pictures of a play , musical or opera while the main curtain is closed. Sometimes this type of music bridges a break in renovation to change the decoration , sometimes it signals the end of a break. Entracte music has a similar function to the overture . In circus music , too , the opening music after the break is called entracte. Sometimes this kind of music prepares the mood for the next action or a new set, sometimes it is completely independent of the performance. In the 19th century, movements of solo concerts were sometimes played as inter-act music in order to give individual orchestral musicians the opportunity to distinguish themselves as soloists.

Around 1840, Gustav Schilling mentions the usually poor reputation of these musical performances as background music : "Our music directories still talk almost little about the entr'acte, and in the theaters you choose any piece of music, the first, the best."

Some entracte music is performed in the concert hall independently of the play for which it was written, such as the incidental music by Franz Schubert for the romantic play Rosamunde by Helmina von Chézy (1823) or the entractes from Georges Bizet's opera Carmen (1875), respectively presented as a suite .

In a very broad sense, Entracte can be a synonym for Intermezzo (opera) , i.e. it can also include dance and scenic performances. In Alban Berg's opera Lulu (1937) an imaginary, musically presented film appears as “Entracte”. A real film as Entr'acte is the work of the same name by René Clair to music by Eric Satie (1924), which was shown between the acts of the ballet Relâche , libretto by Francis Picabia , music also by Satie.


  • Jordan Geiger: Entr'acte: Performing Publics, Pervasive Media, and Architecture, Palgrave Macmillan, London 2015. ISBN 9781137414182

Individual evidence

  1. Gustav Schilling, Encyclopedia of the Entire Musical Sciences, or Universal-Lexicon der Tonkunst, Köhler, Stuttgart 1840, Vol. 2, p. 610.