Divertissement is used, in a similar sense to the Italian
Italian language
Italian is a Romance language spoken mainly in Europe: Italy, Switzerland, San Marino, Vatican City, by minorities in Malta, Monaco, Croatia, Slovenia, France, Libya, Eritrea, and Somalia, and by immigrant communities in the Americas and Australia...

Divertimento is a musical genre, with most of its examples from the 18th century. The mood of the divertimento is most often lighthearted and it is generally composed for a small ensemble....

', for a light piece of music for a small group of players, however the French term has additional meanings.

During the 17th and 18th century, the term implied incidental aspects of an entertainment (usually involving singing and dancing) that might be inserted in an opera or ballet
Ballet is a type of performance dance, that originated in the Italian Renaissance courts of the 15th century, and which was further developed in France and Russia as a concert dance form. The early portions preceded the invention of the proscenium stage and were presented in large chambers with...

 or other stage performance. In the operas of Lully
-Places:*Switzerland**Lully, Fribourg, a municipality**Lully, Vaud, a municipality**Lully, Geneva, a village in the municipality of Bernex*France**Lully, Haute-Savoie-People:*Jean-Baptiste Lully , an Italian-born Baroque composer of French opera...

 these 'divertissements' were sometimes linked to the main plot, or performed at the close of the performance. (Similar examples during the 19th century include Charles Gounod
Charles Gounod
Charles-François Gounod was a French composer, known for his Ave Maria as well as his operas Faust and Roméo et Juliette.-Biography:...

's opera Faust
Faust (opera)
Faust is a drame lyrique in five acts by Charles Gounod to a French libretto by Jules Barbier and Michel Carré from Carré's play Faust et Marguerite, in turn loosely based on Johann Wolfgang von Goethe's Faust, Part 1...

and Delibes
Delibes may refer to:People with surname Delibes:* Léo Delibes , French composer* Miguel Delibes , Spanish novelist...

's ballet Coppélia
Coppélia is a sentimental comic ballet with original choreography by Arthur Saint-Léon to a ballet libretto by Saint-Léon and Charles Nuitter and music by Léo Delibes. It was based upon two macabre stories by E. T. A. Hoffmann, Der Sandmann , and Die Puppe...


Special entertainments of a similar kind given between the acts of an opera were called 'intermède
Intermède is a French term for a musical or theatrical performance involving song and dance, also an 18th-century opera genre.The context in which the 'intermède' was performed has changed over time. During the 16th century they were court entertainments in which ballet was an important element...


The term is also sometimes used for a ballet suite of loosely-connected dances. One 20th-century example is Jacques Ibert
Jacques Ibert
Jacques François Antoine Ibert was a French composer. Having studied music from an early age, he studied at the Paris Conservatoire and won its top prize, the Prix de Rome at his first attempt, despite studies interrupted by his service in World War I.Ibert pursued a successful composing career,...

's Divertissement. Jean Françaix
Jean Françaix
Jean René Désiré Françaix was a French neoclassical composer, pianist, and orchestrator, known for his prolific output and vibrant style.-Life:...

 named four of his compositions Divertissement:
  • for string trio and piano (1933)
  • for string trio and orchestra (1935)
  • for bassoon and string quintet (or orchestra, 1942)
  • for oboe, clarinet and bassoon (1945).
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