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Main Characteristics of Contemporary Music (1900- ?)

(Contemporary compositions vary widely, so this is not a complete list; and not all these characteristics are present in every composition.)

1. Fewer lyrical melodies than the music of former periods.

2. Dissonant harmonies.

3. Complex rhythms.

4. Percussiveness.

5. Greater use of woodwind, brass and percussion instruments than in music of earlier periods.

6. The use of synthetic and electronic sounds.



Main Characteristics of Romantic Music (1825 - 1900)


  1. MELODY: Long, lyrical melodies with irregular phrases; Wide, somewhat angular skips; extensive use of chromaticism; vivid contrasts; a variety of melodic ideas within one movement.
  2. RHYTHM: Frequent changes in both tempo and time signatures.
  3. TEXTURE: Almost entirely homophonic.
  4. TIMBRE: A great variety of tone colour; woodwind and brass sections of the orchestra increased; many special orchestral effects introduced; rich and colourful orchestration.


The Main Characteristics of Baroque Music (1600 - 1750)

Unity of Mood:

A baroque piece is famous for its doctrine of mood. What is happy will be happy throughout and what is sad continues to the end. Composers moulded the musical language to fit moods and affections. Some definite rhythms and melodic patterns are used to define certain moods and expressions.

The prime exception of this characteristics is an exception to this baroque principle of the unity of mood. Drastic changes of emotions in the text may inspire corresponding changes in music. But even in such cases, the certain mood continue for quite some time before it changes to another.


Unity of mood in baroque is first conveyed by the continuity of rhythm. Rhythmic patterns heard at the beginning of the piece is reiterated many times throughout the piece. This relentless drive compelled the music to push forward. This forward motion is hardly ever interrupted. The beat are also far more distinct in baroque music.


Baroque music creates a feeling of continuity. An opening melody will be heard over and over again in the course of the piece. Even if the character of the piece is constant, the passage is varied. Many baroque melodies are complex and elaborate. They are not easy to sing or play. Baroque melodies give and impression of dynamic expansion rather than balance and symmetry. It gives a whole feeling of a jumble yet a theme is distinctly heard.

Terraced Dynamics:

Paralleling the continuity of mood, the dynamics of the piece also stay constant for some period of time before it shifts to another level. When the dynamics shift, it is sudden like physically stepping of a step. Therefore, terraced dynamics are a distinctive quality of baroque music. Gradual changes such as crescendo and decrescendos are unheard of this is partly due to the fact that the manuals of the keyboards instrument then were able to provide only the loud or the soft sound. They were not able to provide the “in between” sound.


Late baroque music are often and predominantly polyphonic in texture : two more melodic lines compete for the listener’s attention. Usually the soprano and the bass line is more important and imitation between various lines is very common. A melodic line that happen in one voice will happen in other voices as well. However, this was not strict during Bach’s and Handel’s time short snatches of homophonic pieces may also occur.

Basso continuo and figure bass:

In any baroque piece, it is common to see figures basses, little numbers at the bottom of the stave, it indicates the chords that the basso continuo player must play.


"Basso continuo" refers to the instruments used to play the thoroughbass (figured bass) part -- usually, in the Baroque period, an organ or harpsichord and a cello or "viola da gamba".


The Main Characteristics of Classical Music (1750-1825)

  1. Less complicated texture than Baroque (more homophonic).
  2. Emphasis on beauty, elegance and balance.
  3. More variety and contrast within a piece than Baroque (dynamics, instruments, pitch, tempo, key, mood and timbre).
  4. Melodies tend to be shorter than those in baroque, with clear-cut phrases, and clearly marked cadences.
  5. The orchestra increases in size and range. The harpsichord fails out of use. The woodwind becomes a self-contained section.
  6. The piano takes over, often with Alberti bass accompaniment.
  7. Importance was given to instrumental music - sonata, trio, string quartet, symphony, concerto.
  8. Sonata form was the most important design.                                                                                         >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>




By referring to the score of each list piece (and Canon at First Grade), candidates can be asked to :-

1. Explain the title of the piece, including the mood or character of the piece.
2. Name and / or explain any notes, rests, signs, terms, its key signature, its time signature and its tempo.


By referring to the score of each list piece candidates can be asked to :-

1. Explain the title of the piece, including the mood or character of the piece.
2. Name and / or explain any notes, rests, signs, terms, its key signature, its time signature and its tempo.
3. Identify key changes (on the appropriate score) at obvious and clear cut places only, preferably at the beginnings or ends of marked sections and not in transitory passages.
4. Explain form, only if the piece represents one of the following:-
Binary, Ternary, Rondo, Theme and Variation types, First Movement (Sonata), Fugue, Minuet (Scherzo) and Trio, Through composed.



By referring to the score of each list piece candidates can be asked to :-

1. Explain the title of the piece, including the mood or character of the piece.
2. Name and / or explain any notes, rests, signs, terms, its key signature, its time signature and its tempo.
3. Identify key changes (on the appropriate score) at obvious and clear cut places only, preferably at the beginnings or ends of marked sections and not in transitory passages.
4. Explain form, only if the piece represents one of the following:-
Binary, Ternary, Rondo, Theme and Variation types, First Movement (Sonata), Fugue, Minuet (Scherzo) and Trio, Through composed.
5. Name the period from which the piece comes and state the time frame of that period.
6. Discuss style and influence by showing how the piece exemplifies typical features of its period.
7. Name two other works by the composer.
8. Name two other contemporaries during the composer’s time.
9. A brief background on the life of the composer.


General Knowledge Questions    YOUR EXAM PIECES

NAME OF PIECE:_______________________________________________________________________________


EXPLAIN THE TITLE:________________________________________________________________



TIME SIGNATURE (DESCRIBE):__________________________________________________________________



TEMPO (EXPLAIN):______________________________________________________________________________

NAME & EXPLAIN ALL THE TERMS AND SIGNS:___________________________________________________






DESCRIBE THE VALUE OF EVERY NOTE & REST:___________________________________________________




PERIOD OF MUSIC:_______________________________________________________________________________

STYLISTIC INFORMATION:________________________________________________________________________





COMPOSER’S LIFE:________________________________________________________________________________






​BURLESCO from the word Burlesque
a literary, dramatic or musical work intended to cause laughter by caricaturing the manner or spirit of serious works, or by ludicrous treatment of their subjects. The word derives from the Italian burlesco, which itself derives from the Italian burla...


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Through-Composed Form

In music theory about musical form, the term through-composed means that the music is relatively continuous, non-sectional, and/or non-repetitive. A song is said to be through-composed if it has different music for each stanza of the lyrics. This is in contrast to strophic form, in which each stanza is set to the same music. Sometimes the German durchkomponiert is used to indicate the same concept.

In general usage, a 'through-composed' work is one based on run-on movements without internal repetitions. (The distinction is especially characteristic of the literature of the art-song, where such works are contrasted with strophic settings.)

Many examples of this form can be found in Schubert's "Lieder", where the words of a poem are set to music and each line is different, for example, in his Lied "Der Erlkönig" ("The Elf-King"), in which the setting proceeds to a different musical arrangement for each new stanza and whenever the piece comes to each character, the character portrays its own voice register and tonality. Another example is Haydn's 'Farewell Symphony'.

"Happiness Is a Warm Gun", by The Beatles, is an example of this form's application in popular music. Furthermore, a good deal of Captain Beefheart's oeuvre is through-composed. No section of Ary Barroso's 1939 samba "Brazil" repeats; however, a second set of lyrics in Portuguese allows the melody to be sung through twice.

Musical Form - Ternary

From Encyclopedia Britannica and Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Ternary form, sometimes called song form, is a three-part musical form, usually schematicized as A–B–A. The first and third parts (A) are musically identical, or very nearly so, while the second part (B) in some way provides a contrast with them. The B section is often called the trio, especially in minuets and scherzi. Examples include Schumann's "Folk Song", Album for the Young (Op. 68, No. 9) and Chopin's Prelude in D-Flat Major (Op. 28).

The symmetrical construction of this scheme (aba) provides one of the familiar shapes in Western music; ternary form can be found in music from the Middle Ages (as in the common arrangement antiphon-verse-antiphon in Gregorian chant) to the present day.

Although any kind of aba pattern may be correctly defined as ternary, the term most precisely denotes the form exemplified by the minuet and trio of the Baroque suite and the Classical symphony and sonata, as well as the da capo aria of the Baroque cantata and oratorio and 18th-century opera. In the Classical minuet, the minuet section and the trio section must each comprise at least a period or a double period and must end on an authentic cadence; that is, each section is relatively complete within itself. The trio section follows the minuet and is usually in a different key. Then the minuet is repeated; this repetition may be indicated by the term da capo, “from the head”), or it may be written out in full, especially if it is varied in some way. Ludwig van Beethoven and his successors usually replaced the symphonic minuet with a scherzo, a movement similar in form to the minuet but much faster in tempo.

The standard aba is often described as a simple ternary form, as distinct from a compound ternary form, which may be abacaba or abacdaba with the c or the cd in a different key; this pattern approximates rondo form (in which a particular melody or section is periodically restated).

Sonata form has sometimes been considered an expanded category of ternary form, with its three sections of exposition, development, and recapitulation, but this characterization is misleading. Sonata form, the most highly developed of the Classical forms, in fact evolved historically from binary form into a more-complex structure that belongs in a distinct category of its own.

Musical Form - Binary

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


Most strictly, a piece in binary form is characterized by two complementary, related sections of roughly equal duration, which come up frequently. The first section will start in a certain key, and will usually modulate to a related key:
compositions in major keys will typically modulate to the dominant, the fifth scale degree above the tonic
compositions in minor keys will typically modulate to the relative major, the major key centered on the third scale degree above the tonic; alternatively the first section could close in the dominant minor, or with an imperfect cadence in the original key.
The second section of the piece begins in the newly established key, where it remains for an indefinite period of time. After some harmonic activity, the piece will eventually modulate back to its original key before ending. More often than not, especially in 18th-century compositions, the A and B sections are separated by double bars with repeat signs, meaning both sections were to be repeated.
Binary form is usually characterised as having the form AB, though since both sections repeat, a more accurate description would be AABB. Others, however, prefer to use the label AAâ². This second designation points to the fact that there is no great change in character between the two sections. The rhythms and melodic material used will generally be closely related in each section, and if the piece is written for a musical ensemble, the instrumentation will generally be the same. This is in contrast to the use of verse-chorus form in popular musicâ”the contrast between the two sections is primarily one of the keys used.

Further distinctions

A piece in binary form can be further classified according to a number of characteristics:
Simple vs. rounded
Occasionally, the B section will end with a "return" of the opening material from the A section. This is referred to as rounded binary, and is labeled as ABAâ². In rounded binary, the beginning of the B section is sometimes referred to as the "bridge", and will usually conclude with a half cadence in the original key. Rounded binary is not to be confused with ternary form, also labeled ABAâ”the difference being that, in ternary form, the B section contrasts completely with the A material as in, for example, a minuet and trio. Another important difference between the rounded and ternary form is that in rounded binary, when the "A" section returns, it will typically contain only half of the full "A" period, whereas ternary form will end with the full "A" section.
Rounded binary or minuet form:
A :||: B A or A'
I(->V) :||: V(or other closely related) I
If the B section lacks such a return of the opening A material, the piece is said to be in simple binary.
A->B :||: A->B
I->V :||: V->I
Slow-movement form
A' A"
I->V I->I
Many examples of rounded binary are found among the church sonatas of Vivaldi including his Sonata No. 1 for Cello and Continuo, First Movement, while certain Baroque composers such as Bach and Handel used the form rarely.

Sectional vs. continuous
If the A section ends with an Authentic (or Perfect) cadence in the original tonic key of the piece, the design is referred to as a sectional binary. This refers to the fact that the piece is in different tonal sections, each beginning and ending in their own respective keys.
If the A section ends with any other kind of cadence, the design is referred to as a continuous binary. This refers to the fact that the B section will "continue on" with the new key established by the cadence at the end of A.

Symmetrical vs. asymmetrical
If the A and B sections are roughly equal in length, the design is referred to as symmetrical.
If the A and B sections are of unequal length, the design is referred to as asymmetrical. In such cases, the B section is usually substantially longer than the A section.
The asymmetrical binary form begins to be more common than the symmetrical type from about the time of Beethoven onwards, and is almost routine in the main sections of Minuet and Trio or Scherzo and Trio movements in the works of many composers from Beethoven onwards. In such cases, occasionally only the first section of the binary structure is marked to be repeated.
Although most of Chopin's nocturnes are in an overall ternary form, quite often the individual sections (either the A, the B, or both) are in binary form, most often of the asymmetrical variety. If a section of this binary structure is repeated, in this case it is written out again in full, usually considerably varied, rather than enclosed between repeat signs.

Balanced binary
In some simple continuous binary forms, there is a kind of "rhyme" between the closing gesture of the first reprise and the closing gesture of the second. In other words, the cadential material at the end of the first reprise (in the key of the dominant) will return, transposed to the tonic, at the end of the second reprise. This is referred to as balanced binary.



(from The Free Dictionary and Wikipedia)
SONATA - A type of instrumental composition that arose in Italy in the 17th century, literally means a piece played as opposed to a cantata, a piece sung. Thus many early concertos, suites, and sets of variations were called sonatas.
Baroque Sonata.
During the baroque period, the term Sonata began to identify two specific types: the sonata de chiesa, (church sonata), and the sonata da camera, (chamber sonata). Both were written most commonly for two melody instruments, usually violins or flutes, with a bass instrument and a keyboard instrument. The former, intended for church performance, was generally in four movements, two of them slow; the latter was usually a suite of dances.
In the late 17th cent. these two types merged into the outstanding baroque chamber music form, the trio sonata. This form was brought to perfection in the works of Arcangelo Corelli and François Couperin and adopted in the sonatas of J. S. Bach and Handel.
Sonata in the Classical Period
The classical sonata's movements are usually fast-slow-fast, and a minuet or scherzo is often inserted before the last movement. The usage of sonata as the standard term for such works began somewhere in the 1770s. Haydn labels his first piano sonata as such in 1771, after which the term divertimento is used very sparingly in his output. The term sonata was increasingly applied to either a work for keyboard alone (see piano sonata), or for keyboard and one other instrument, often the violin or cello.
Initially the most common layout of movements was: fast-slow-fast
- Allegro, which at the time was understood to mean not only a tempo, but also some degree of "working out", or development, of the theme.
- A middle movement which was, most frequently, a slow movement: an Andante, an Adagio, or a Largo;
- A closing movement was generally an Allegro or a Presto, often labeled Finale. The form was often a Rondo or Minuet.
Increasingly instrumental works were laid out in four, not three movements, a practice seen first in string quartets and symphonies, and reaching the sonata proper in the early sonatas of Beethoven.
The four-movement layout was by this point standard for the string quartet, and overwhelmingly the most common for the symphony. The usual order of the four movements was:
- An allegro, which by this point was in what is called sonata form, complete with exposition, development, and recapitulation.
- A slow movement, an Andante, Adagio or Largo.
- A dance movement, frequently Minuet and trio or – especially later in the classical period; a Scherzo and trio.
- A finale in faster tempo, often in a sonata–rondo form.
Beethoven's output of sonatas: 32 piano sonatas, plus sonatas for cello and piano and violin and piano.
Romantic period
Among works expressly labeled sonata, some of the most famous were composed in this period. After the classical era the most significant development was the use of one thematic idea in all movements, in each of which the basic idea is transformed in mood and character. This type of sonata was fully realized in the Sonata in B Minor of Franz Liszt. The sonata was closely tied in the Romantic period to tonal harmony and practice.
Among piano sonatas alone, there are the three of Frederic Chopin, those of Felix Mendelssohn, the three of Robert Schumann, Franz Liszt's Sonata in B Minor, and later the sonatas of Johannes Brahms and Sergei Rachmaninoff.

Famous Sonatas:
-Three Sonatas for Solo Violin (JS Bach, Baroque period)
-Devils Thrill Sonata (Giuseppe Tartini, Baroque period
-Piano Sonata no.14 - 'Moonlight sonata' (Beethoven, Classical period)
-Piano Sonata no.8 in A minor (Mozart, Classical period)
-Piano Sonata no. 2 in B flat minor (Chopin, Romantic period)
-Sonata after a Reading of Dante (Franz Liszt, Romantic period)
-Sonata for 2 pianos and percussion (Bela Bartok, 20th Century/Contemporary)



From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A scherzo (plural scherzos or scherzi) is a piece of music, often a movement from a larger piece such as a symphony or a sonata. The scherzo often refers to a movement which replaces the minuet as the third movement in a four-movement work, such as a symphony, sonata, or string quartet.[1] Scherzo also frequently refers to a fast-moving humorous composition which may or may not be part of a larger work.[2] The word "scherzo" means "joke" in Italian. Sometimes the word "scherzando" ("joking") is used in musical notation to indicate that a passage should be executed in a playful manner.
The scherzo developed from the minuet, and gradually came to replace it as the third (or sometimes second) movement in symphonies, string quartets, sonatas and similar works. It traditionally retains the triple meter time signature and ternary form of the minuet, but is considerably quicker. It is often, but not always, of a light-hearted nature.

The scherzo itself is a rounded binary form, but, like the minuet, is usually played with the accompanying Trio followed by a repeat of the Scherzo, creating the ABA or ternary form. This is sometimes done twice or more (ABABA). The "B" theme is a trio, a contrasting section not necessarily for only three instruments, as was often the case with the second minuet of classical suites.

A technique that exists in some, but not all, scherzi is transposition of a repeated phrase. For example, in the second movement of Beethoven's piano sonata known as the "Moonlight Sonata", the first four measures are played in the dominant key. The four measures following that are a repeat of the first four, but transposed up a perfect fourth to the tonic key. This effect creates the illusion of starting on the 'wrong' key, which corrects itself after the phrase is transposed.

Joseph Haydn wrote minuets which are very close to scherzi in tone, but it was Ludwig van Beethoven and Franz Schubert who first used the form widely, with Beethoven in particular turning the polite rhythm of the minuet into a much more intense ┠and sometimes even savage ┠dance.
Most of the scherzi of Beethoven's symphonies (but not of his sonatas), such as that of his Pastoral Symphony, contain two appearances of the trio, in which the second is sometimes varied and after the second of which the scherzo material often returns much foreshortened by way of a coda. Schumann, would very often use two trios also, but different trios.
The scherzo remained a standard movement in the symphony and related forms through the 19th century. Composers also began to write scherzi as pieces in themselves, stretching the boundaries of the form.
Out of Frédéric Chopin's four well-known scherzi for the piano, the first three are especially dark and dramatic.
In addition, Brahms regarded the scherzo from his Second Piano Concerto as a "little wisp of a scherzo", as it is a heavyweight movement.
An unrelated use of the word in music is in light-hearted madrigals of the Renaissance period, which were often called scherzi musicali. Claudio Monteverdi, for example, wrote two sets of works with this title, the first in 1607, the second in 1632.



From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A sonatina is literally a small sonata. As a musical term, sonatina has no single strict definition; it is rather a title applied by the composer to a piece that is in basic sonata form, but is shorter, lighter in character, or more elementary technically than a typical sonata. [1] The term has been in use at least since the late baroque; there is a one-page, one-movement harpsichord piece by Handel called "Sonatina".[2] It is most often applied to solo keyboard works, but a number of composers have written sonatinas for violin and piano (see list under Violin sonata), e.g.Sonatina in G major for Violin and Piano by Antonín Dvořák, and occasionally for other instruments, e.g. the Clarinet Sonatina by Malcolm Arnold.
Like many musical terms, sonatina is used inconsistently. The most common meaning is a short, easy sonata suitable for students, such as the piano sonatinas of Clementi. However, by no means are all sonatinas technically undemanding, for example the virtuoso sonatinas of Busoniand Alkan, and the Sonatine of Ravel, whose title reflects its neo-classical quality. On the other hand, some sonatas could equally as well have been called sonatinas: for example Beethoven's Op. 49, titled by the composer "Zwei Leichte Sonaten für das Pianoforte" ("Two Easy Sonatas for Piano") comprise only two short movements each, a sonata-allegro and a short rondo (No. 1) or minuet (No. 2), all well within the grasp of the intermediate student. Other works indeed titled "Sonatina" are attributed to Beethoven, like the Sonatina in F major, however.
In general, a sonatina will have one or more of the following characteristics: brevity; fewer movements than the four of the late classical sonata; technical simplicity; a lighter, less serious character; and (in post-romantic music) a neo-classical style or a reference to earlier music. Muzio Clementi's sonatinas op. 36 are very popular among students.
The first (or only) movement is generally in an abbreviated sonata form, with little or no development of the themes. For this reason, a sonatina is sometimes defined, especially in British usage, as a short piece in sonata form in which the development section is quite perfunctory or entirely absent:[3] the exposition is followed immediately by a brief bridge passage to modulate back to the home key for the recapitulation. Subsequent movements (at most two) may be in any of the common forms: e.g. a minuet or scherzo, a slow theme-and-variations, or a rondo.

[edit]Significant Composers of Sonatinas for Solo Piano

Charles Valentin Alkan
Ludwig van Beethoven
Alexander Borodin
Ferruccio Busoni
Muzio Clementi
Anton Diabelli
Maurice Ravel
George Frederick Handel
Stephen Heller
Aram Khachaturian



From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
For other uses, see Rondo (disambiguation).
Rondo, and its French equivalent rondeau, is a word that has been used in music in a number of ways, most often in reference to a musical form, but also to a character-type that is distinct from the form. Although now called rondo form, the form started off in the Baroque period as theritornello, from the Italian word ritornare meaning "to return" – indicating the return to the original theme or motif ("A"). The typical Baroque ritornello pattern is ABACABA. Although there are a few differences, some people use the two terms, rondo and ritornello, interchangeably.
In rondo form, a principal theme (sometimes called the "refrain") alternates with one or more contrasting themes, generally called "episodes," but also occasionally referred to as "digressions" or "couplets." Possible patterns in the Classical period include: ABA, ABACA, or ABACABA. The number of themes can vary from piece to piece, and the recurring element is sometimes embellished and/or shortened in order to provide forvariation.
The Baroque predecessor to the rondo was the ritornello. Ritornello form was used in the fast movements of baroque concertos. The entire orchestra (in Italian, tutti) plays the main ritornello theme, while soloists play the intervening episodes. While Rondo form is similar to ritornello form, it is different in that ritornello brings back the subject or main theme in fragments and in different keys, but the rondo brings back its theme complete and in the same key.
A common expansion of rondo form is to combine it with sonata form, to create the sonata rondo form. Here, the second theme acts in a similar way to the second theme group in sonata form by appearing first in a key other than the tonic and later being repeated in the tonic key. Unlike sonata form, thematic development does not need to occur except possibly in the coda.
Rondo as a character-type (as distinct from the form) refers to music that is fast and vivacious – normally Allegro. Many classical rondos feature music of a popular or folk character. They include Mozart's Rondo in A minor k511. Music that has been designated as "rondo" normally subscribes to both the form and character. On the other hand, there are many examples of slow and reflective works that are rondo in form but not in character.
A little-known vocal genre of the late eighteenth-century referred to at that time as the "rondò" is cast in two parts, slow-fast.




From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The rigaudon (also spelled rigadon, rigadoon) is a French baroque dance with a lively duple metre. The music is similar to that of a bourrée, but the rigaudon is rhythmically simpler with regular phrases (eight measure phrases are most common). Also spelled Rigadoon, it is a sprightly 17th-century French folk dance for couples. Traditionally, the folkdance was associated with the provinces of Vavarais, Languedoc, Dauphiné, and Provence in southern France, and it became popular as a court dance during the reign of Louis XIV (Little 2001). Its hopping steps were adopted by the skillful dancers of the French and English courts, where it remained fashionable through the 18th century. By the close of the 18th century, however, it had given way in popularity as a ballroom dance (along with the passepied, bourrée, and gigue) to the minuet.



From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The gavotte (also gavot or gavote) originated as a French folk dance, taking its name from the Gavot people of the Pays de Gap region of Dauphiné, where the dance originated.[citation needed] It is notated in 4/4 or 2/2 time and is of moderate tempo. The distinctive rhythmic feature of the 18th-century French court gavotte is that phrases begin in the middle of the bar; that is, in either 4/4 or 2/2 time, the phrases begin on the third quarter note (crotchet) of the bar, creating a half-measure (half-bar) upbeat.

The gavotte became popular in the court of Louis XIV where Jean-Baptiste Lully was the leading court composer. Consequently several other composers of the Baroque period incorporated the dance as one of many optional additions to the standard instrumental suite of the era. The examples in suites and partitas by Johann Sebastian Bach are best known. When present in the Baroque suite, the gavotte is often played after the sarabande and before the gigue, along with other optional dances such as the minuet, bourrée, rigaudon, and passepied.

The gavotte could be played at a variety of tempi; in his Musicalisches Lexicon (Leipzig, 1732), Johann Gottfried Walther wrote that the gavotte is "often quick, but occasionally slow"; and Johann Joachim Quantz wrote in Versuch einer Anweisung die Flöte traversiere zu spielen (Berlin, 1752) that "A gavotte is almost like a rigaudon, but is a little more moderate in tempo."
The gavotte in the Baroque period is typically in binary form. A notable exception is the rondo form of the Gavotte from Bach's Partita No. 3 in E Major for solo violin, BWV 1006.

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