Room 77--How suite it is!

Hundreds of years ago, a suite was a group of brief dances. There were no rules concerning how many dances made up a suite. It was completely arbitrary and up to the composer.

The following is a list of dances typically found in a suite or other composition which grouped dances together, with descriptions and audio examples.

Allemande - - The name comes from the French word for "German." It is a lively dance in a duple meter, 2/4 perhaps. It began in France around 1500, then traveled to Germany, then England. Listen!

Bourrée - - Dance in rapid duple meter characterized by beginning on the second beat. A famous example of a adaptation is the song "Bourrée" by Jethro Tull.

Burlesca - - This designation, although found in suites, was not a particular dance. It was a direction to perform a piece in a comical, jesting manner. Listen!

Courante - - A lively dance in a triple meter, ¾ perhaps, sometimes called by its Italian designation, corrente. Listen!

Galliard - - A lively dance in triple meter, often preceded by a slower stately dance such as a pavane.

Gavotte - - Popular 17th century French dance, normally in 4/4, usually beginning on the third beat. Listen!

Gigue - - lively dance usually in 6/8 or 12/8 based upon the Irish or English jig. Listen!

Menuet - - A moderate French dance in ¾ meter. It began in the 17th century and perhaps ultimately became the waltz in the 19th century. Listen!

Passepied - - Quick French dance in ¾ or 3/8 meter. Found a great deal in French operas and ballets. Listen!

Rondeau - - A 17th century piece, not actually a dance but a piece with a recurring refrain as it distinguishing feature. Listen!

Sarabande - - A slow dance in triple meter with the emphasis usually on the second beat. Listen!

Siciliana - - A slow dance usually in 6/8 or 12/8 time, said to have originated on the island of Sicily. Listen!

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