Musical Form – Baroque Era: Gigue

The gigue is a lively baroque dance originating from the British jig. It was imported into France in the mid-17th century and usually appears at the end of a suite. The gigue was probably never a court dance, but it was danced by nobility on social occasions and several court composers wrote gigues.

A gigue is usually in 3/8 or in one of its compound metre derivatives, such as 6/8, 6/4, 9/8 or 12/8, although there are some gigues written in other metres, as for example the gigue from Johann Sebastian Bach‘s first French Suite (BWV 812), which is written in 2/2.

It often has a contrapuntal texture. It often has accents on the third beats in the bar, making the gigue a lively folk dance.

In early French theatre, it was customary to end a play’s performance with a gigue, complete with music and dancing.

A gigue, like other Baroque dances, consists of two sections. In Bach’s gigues, each section often begins as a fugue, in which the theme used in the first section is ♯Inverted_melodies">inverted in the second section, as for example in the gigue from Bach’s third English Suite.

A gigue rhythm:

Another gigue rhythm: File:Gigue dance pattern 2.png

 Suite No. 6 in F minor for harpsichord (flute or violin and continuo) – Charles Dieupart (1667~1740)



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