HumanitiesWeb.org - Glossary definition: Vaudeville
(French vaux de vire or voix de ville)
In late 16th c., song with amorous words as sung in the valleys (vaux) near Vire or catches sung in the streets of towns.
In 18th cent, the term came to mean a song with different verses sung in turn by different singers, and this meaning was incorporated into operatic terminology, e.g. a `vaudeville finale', as in Mozart's Die Entführung aus dem Serail
In 19th cent. meant short comedies interspersed with popular songs, as in French revues
In late 19th and 20th centuries, a synonym for a variety show or music-hall, particularly in the United States