Tune of the Day: Gavotte
The gavotte originated as a French folk dance, taking its name from the Gavot people of the Pays de Gap region, where the dance originated. It is notated in 4/4 or 2/2 time and is of moderate tempo. The distinctive rhythmic feature of the original gavotte is that phrases begin in the middle of the bar; that is, in 4/4 time, the phrases begin on the third quarter note of the bar, creating a half-measure 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.