What Is An Interlude In Music?

By Richard Pryn •  Updated: 09/29/22 •  6 min read

There are many styles of music, more than we can even count with new styles emerging all the time. Let’s discuss one of the commonly overlooked parts of music: the interlude. What is an interlude in music?

An interlude is a moment in time where something occurs between two events. Much like the acts within trailer music.

When relating to music an interlude can be either a major distinction between two pieces of music or a performance that intersects two different songs.

Typically the interlude will be drastically different from the two songs it comes between, this creates an immediate interruption of the music and grabs the attention of the listener. 

The style is not typically used in underground bands or with indie artists. It’s used primarily in hip hop or pop albums to show the transition between songs.

What Is An Interlude In Music?

Interludes are also an amazing method to bulk up an album or EP without needing to spend the money or invest the time in writing new songs.

It’s another way to easily showcase some of your amazing creative ideas that you did not intend to make into a full song. 

There are several types of interlude that are used frequently, they can be only instrumental, accompanied with vocals, or just have no music at all.

The interlude could be a skit that plays out, a speech, or just a little blast of music that will directly lead into the next song.

The one thing that all interludes have in common is that they are all relatively short when compared to the songs that it intersects that can be double the length. 

In this article we will cover all there is to know about interludes.

Interludes In Albums

You will most commonly find interludes in albums.

They will appear in most popular artists releases.

They feature in between tracks that are on the album and within the interlude the artist may choose to use it to feature some musical ideas.

Or they may have a conversation that will give us the listener a break from the flow of the album and can be a breath of fresh air. 

The interlude can be put anywhere in the album and whilst it’s typically found in the middle it can be placed at the start.

When placed at the start they can serve as an introduction to the album and can let the listener in with a hint of what is to come from the album.

When we reach the middle of the album you may find several interludes.

They separate the start of the album from the end and can transition the album’s story or can signal a change in up the genre of music.

There are also some who prefer to save the interludes for the end of the album as a way to outro the album that can reflect on the whole thing and cap off the tone for the overall album.

Interludes Found Within Songs

There are occasions where a song may include an interlude within itself, this should not be confused with the bridge that serves as the climax to the song and can bring in some new musical ideas and will make it a stand out part of the song that is unlike the chorus as well as any of the verses. 

When you find an interlude in one song then you will be likely hearing two different styles of music in the same song that can be seen as two separate songs sharing the same track.

Most artists will choose this method when making album tracks that can allow the song to extend way beyond the industry standard three minute long song. 

What About Other Genres That Include Music

Interludes are not just limited to music they can be used to break up a play and are vital to ensuring a weddings score is done correctly.

So let’s have a look at how they include and incorporate interludes into their music.

Interludes In Weddings

During a wedding an interlude takes on a position that you would not typically use it for. The interludes feature in the many songs, not just one.

Music is played during the ceremony and the interludes will play between the people speaking or when no presentation is currently taking place.

The interludes purpose is to serve as some background noise for guests to listen to and enjoy whilst mingling and between the events during the service order and finally they will play in the receptions downtime.

Interludes In Plays

Plays are a form of musical where the change of scenes requires for interludes to play to distract the audience during a change of scene.

During this time they will play as a small piece of music or even a spoken word.

In this setting an interlude may be also called an intermission that will signify the time during the production where people in the play and the audience can have a short breaks to eat some food, simply stretch their legs and go for a short walk, have a chat with other members or go to use the restroom. 

The Uses Of Interludes

Interludes can be used in many different ways but most commonly they are used to transition from a part of a song to another. They can be used to add climax to a piece of music, or to change the mood of a song. 

Another way they are used is to break up the traditional structure of a song that goes from verse to chorus and then another verse.

Finally it can also be used to bring in a new change in melody, change up the rhythm of the song and also a change in tempo.

Final Thoughts

So there you have it all that you need to know about interludes and the many ways they are used not only in the music industry but in the wider world.

Although they are often overlooked you will never not notice one in the future.

Richard Pryn

Hey there. I am an award winning composer for movie trailers, including Bladerunner 2049, Diablo II, WandaVision, and loads more. I am the founder of The Trailer Music School where my aim is to teach everything I know about music composition, production, and generally being a functional human being. I podcast, blog, vlog and jog (sometimes). I also love coffee, nachos and self-improvement. I live with my wife, three kids and numerous pets. I am also known by my pseudonym, Richard Schrieber (it’s a long story).

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