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date: 09 May 2021

Gavotte (Fr.; Old Eng. gavot; It. gavotta)locked

  • Meredith Ellis Little
  • , revised by Matthew Werley


(Fr.; Old Eng. gavot; It. gavotta)

A French folkdance still performed in Brittany in the mid-20th century; also a French court dance and instrumental form popular from the late 16th century to the late 18th. The courtly gavotte was a lively duple-metre successor to the 16th-century branle; it often had a pastoral affect in the 18th century, and frequently appeared as a movement of a suite, usually after the sarabande. It witnessed an extensive revival during the second half of the 19th century.

‘Gavotte’ is a generic term covering many types of folkdance from the area of Basse-Bretagne in France, but it is used also in Provence and the Basque areas. J.-M. Guilcher’s study of the gavotte in Brittany (1963) revealed great variety in modern practice, especially in the type of steps used, floor patterns and formations, and musical accompaniment. Gavottes in some areas are accompanied by singing, with a soloist alternating either with a group or with another soloist; in other areas gavottes are accompanied by instruments such as the violin, drum, bagpipe, or a kind of shawm. Various metres are used, including 4/4, 2/4, 9/8, and 5/8. Gavottes written in 20th-century provincial France are thought to derive from 19th-century practices and thus are probably not related to the court dances that gained popularity in the late 16th century....

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