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Sheet Music: Prelude

TitlePrelude
from Carmen
Alternate titlesMarch of the Toreadors
Toreador Song
ComposerGeorges Bizet (1838–1875)
InstrumentationFlute solo
KeyA major
RangeC♮4–A6
Time signature2/4
Tempo116 BPM
Performance time3:45
Difficulty levelintermediate
Download printable scorePDF Sheet Music (111 kB) (preview)
Download audio tracksMIDI (9 kB) MP3 (1.8 MB)
Date added2010-03-24
Last updated2010-03-24
CategoriesOpera excerpts, Romantic, Show-off pieces

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Wednesday 24 March 2010

Tune of the Day: March of the Toreadors

from “Carmen” by Georges Bizet

Probably one of the most invigorating themes in all opera, the dashing “March of the Toreadors” serves as the very first theme of the prelude to Act I. The flamboyant Spanish tune is almost a literal transcription of the festive music announcing the bull-fight in the last Act.

The opera's prelude also introduces some of the most important themes, including the famous “Toreador Song” and an exotic and sinewy chromatic motive that permeates the opera as a musical symbol for both Carmen's character and the insurmountable power of fate. There is an odd story told of this theme, which is said to be of Eastern origin. The legend is that when Satan, according to Mohammedan tradition, was cast from Paradise, he remembered only one strain of the music he had heard there. This was known as the “Devil's Strain”, and Bizet used it with fine symbolic as well as perfect musical fitness.

Other Movements from the same Work

Aragonaise Flute solo
Avec la garde montante Flute solo
Entr'acte Flute & Harp
Habanera Flute & Piano
La fleur que tu m'avais jetée Flute & Piano
Les Dragons d'Alcala Flute solo
Seguidilla Flute solo
Toreador Song Flute solo