Today we have an entertainment-themed trio; perhaps in celebration of the launch of Strictly Come Dancing 2011 (Libro doesn’t watch much telly these days: Libro always watches Strictly!). This one was suggested by Friend Of Libro, Gill – one of her holiday list. I thought I had this down but as usual, I looked it up and was a little surprised. Anyway, I’m going to give the official definitions but say which ones I’d use when – I think that’s fair enough!
An interval is defined firstly as an intervening time or space, a pause or a break. Then, more specifically, it’s a period of time separating parts of a theatrical or musical performance. You know, the bit where you queue for the loo or a drink and then rush back to your seat.
An intermission – well that’s the same – a pause or break, or in our entertainment context, an interval between parts of a play or film.
An interlude is again defined as an intervening period of time and, in regards to entertainment, a pause between the acts of a play. But it’s also a piece of music played between other pieces (or, indeed, between the verses of a hymn) and this is how I’d use this one – after all, we’ve already got two words for the gap in a play or musical performance. So let’s keep interlude for that nice bit of music or short ballet piece acting as a little amusement to clear the musical or balletic tastebuds; a kind of sorbet on legs. The other definition of an interlude is a temporary amusement or diversion, and while interludes of this kind are often romantic, I think my little flight of fancy above probably conforms to this definition too!
You can find more troublesome pairs here.