I'm looking for a word (if such exists) for the opening of a song.

Specifically, the part before the singer starts singing the lyrics, often a 30 seconds to 1 minute solo instrumental at the beginning of the song. Like how the word kick-off, is used for conversation.

Does such a word exist?

  • 4
    If the intro is just a couple of notes, it's usually called a "pickup", or anacrusis.
    – isanae
    Mar 21, 2017 at 13:23
  • 2
    ....The opening Mar 23, 2017 at 1:11
  • The word you are looking for is "prelude" see e.g.: dictionary.com/browse/prelude (unfortuantely I do not have enough reputation for a real answer since the question has been protected)
    – Jens
    Mar 23, 2017 at 15:46

3 Answers 3


Just to expand on Josh's answer: the term introduction is mostly used in the shortened form: intro, especially when it comes to contemporary music.

  • 3
    As in "Beat the intro" quizzes where you have to guess the name of the song before the words start.
    – TripeHound
    Mar 21, 2017 at 13:16
  • 34
    Also of note, the instrumental ending of a song is often referred to as the "outro", despite "outroduction" not being an actual word. Mar 21, 2017 at 14:44
  • Worth noting that even though they sound the same, the etymology for in is not the same for introduction. That is why @HarrisonPaine is correct. Mar 21, 2017 at 20:44
  • 2
    This answer is more correct (which is to say more common place) than the accepted answer.
    – Pharap
    Mar 22, 2017 at 1:13
  • 1
    @HarrisonPaine: And musical bits between verses are sometimes "midtros".
    – supercat
    Mar 22, 2017 at 13:40


  • a preliminary part, as of a book, musical composition, or the like, leading up to the main part.


  • 2
    Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat.
    – tchrist
    Mar 22, 2017 at 21:21

It's referred to as the overture; that's specifically an instrumental opening.

  • 1
    Thanks @ulatekh - from what I understand overture applies on opera music, so it could be the alternative choice for intro when talking about that type of music.
    – Mr. Robot
    Mar 23, 2017 at 9:36
  • 1
    Well, that or pretentious rock songs -- Rush's 2112 album begins with a song called "Overture", and Electric Light Orchestra has a song called "10538 Overture". Disclaimer: I'm huge fans of both those bands.
    – ulatekh
    Mar 23, 2017 at 15:01

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