Hobbies Playing Music The Baroque Dance Suite Share PINTEREST Email Print Heritage Images/Getty Images / Getty Images Playing Music Music Education Music History Basics Music Lessons Music Theory Playing Guitar Playing Piano Home Recording by Espie Estrella Espie Estrella is a lyricist, songwriter, and member of the Nashville Songwriters Association International. Updated November 04, 2019 The suite is a type of fashionable instrumental dance music that emerged during the Renaissance and was further developed during the Baroque period. It consists of several movements or short pieces in the same key and functions as dance or dinner music during social gatherings. King Louis XIV and Baroque Dance Musical scholars contend that the baroque dance suite reached its height of expression and popularity at the court of Louis XIV, who cultivated these dances during elaborate balls and other functions for various reasons, not the least of which as a way to denote social rank. The style of dance that became popular as a result is known as the French Noble Style, and it is considered by musical theorists to be a precursor of classical ballet. Furthermore, its practitioners are credited with the invention of a dance notation system, designed to educate courtiers in the various dances, which allowed the Noble Style to spread well beyond the borders of France. The baroque suite remained popular at the French court until the Revolution. The Primary Suite Movements The baroque suite typically started with a French overture, as in ballet and opera, a musical form divided into two parts that is usually enclosed by double bars and repeat signs. Suites were composed of four main movements: allemande, courante, sarabande, and gigue. Each of the four main movements is based on a dance form from another country. Thus, each movement has a characteristic sound and varies in rhythm and meter. Here are the main movements of the dance suite: Dance Suite Movements Type of Dance Country / Meter / How to Play Allemande Germany, 4/4, Moderate Courante France, 3/4, Quick Sarabande Spain, 3/4, Slow Gigue England, 6/8, Fast Optional movements included air, bourree (lively dance), gavotte (moderately fast dance), minuet, polonaise, and prelude. Additional French dances include the following movements: CanarieChaconneEntrée graveForlaneLoureMusettePassacaillePassepiedRigaudonTambourin Suite Composers Perhaps the greatest of the baroque suite composers was Johann Sebastian Bach. He is famous for his six cello suites, as well as for English, French, and German suites, the latter known as the Partitas, six of which for harpsichord are the last suites he ever composed. Other notable suite composers include George Frideric Handel, François Couperin, and Johann Jakob Froberger. Instruments Played in the Suite Suites were performed on the cello, harpsichord, lute, and violin, either solo or as part of a group. Bach is famous for composing for the harpsichord, and the instrument was a favorite of Handel's as well. Later, as the guitar became more refined, composers like Robert de Visee wrote beautiful suites for that instrument. Contemporary Dance Suites Echoes of a form of baroque dance, English country dances that were known as contredanses in France, can be seen in the folk dancing of today, with its repetitive steps performed by couples in columns, squares, and circles. Additionally, some of today’s modern dance instructors teach a form of baroque dance by reconstructing its steps and mixing them into their contemporary choreography. Continue Reading Discover the 10 Best Composers of the Baroque Period Meet the 24 Best Romantic Period Composers 54 Famous Composers of the 20th Century How Secular Music Become Popular During the Middle Ages What Was Music Like During the Romantic Period? Texture and Instruments of Medieval and Renaissance Music Music Forms and Styles of the Renaissance Where to Find Free Christmas Sheet Music for Instruments and Choirs The Important Music Events of the Classical Period of 1750 to 1820 What Is a Flutophone, and Why Should You Try Playing It? Composers and Styles That Defined 20th Century Music Overview of Music of the Classical Period Everything You Need to Know About the Early Romantic Period in Music How to Play or Read Compound Meter in Music String Musical Instruments: A Gallery What Are the Basic Elements of Music?