A gavotte in Brittany, France, 1878

The gavotte (also gavot, gavote, or gavotta) is a French dance, taking its name from a folk dance of the Gavot, the people of the Pays de Gap region of Dauphiné in the southeast of France, where the dance originated according to one source.[1] According to another reference, however, the word "gavotte" is a generic term for a variety of French folk dances, and most likely originated in Lower Brittany in the west, or possibly Provence in the southeast or the French Basque Country in the southwest of France. It is notated in 4
or 2
time and is usually of moderate tempo, though the folk dances also use meters such as 9
and 5

In late 16th-century renaissance dance the gavotte is first mentioned as the last of a suite of branles. Popular at the court of Louis XIV, it became one of many optional dances in the classical suite of dances. Many were composed by Lully, Rameau and Gluck, and the 17th-century cibell is a variety. The dance was popular in France throughout the 18th century and spread widely. In early courtly use the gavotte involved kissing, but this was replaced by the presentation of flowers.[3]

The gavotte of the 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries has nothing in common with the 19th-century column-dance called the "gavotte"[4] but may be compared with the rigaudon[5] and the bourrée.

Musical characteristics

Gavotte rhythm

The phrases of the 18th-century French court gavotte begin in the middle of the bar, creating a half-measure (half-bar) upbeat. However the music for the earlier court gavotte, first described by Thoinot Arbeau in 1589, invariably began on the downbeat of a duple measure. Later composers also wrote gavottes that began on the downbeat rather than on the half-measure: an example is Jean-Philippe Rameau's Gavotte Variée in A minor for keyboard.[6] Various folk gavottes found in mid-20th-century Brittany are danced to music in 4
, 2
, 9
, and 5

Another typical gavotte rhythm.[8]

In the ball-room the gavotte was often paired with a preceding triple-time minuet: both dances are stately, and the gavotte's lifted step contrasted with the shuffling minuet step. It had a steady rhythm, not broken up into faster notes.[9]

A Tempo di Gavotti by George Frideric Handel

In the Baroque suite the gavotte is played after (or sometimes before) the sarabande. Like most dance movements of the Baroque period it is typically in binary form but this may be extended by a second melody in the same metre, often one called the musette, having a pedal drone to imitate the French bagpipes, played after the first to create a grand ternary form; A–(A)–B–A.[10] There is a Gavotte en Rondeau ("Gavotte in rondo form") in J.S. Bach's Partita No. 3 in E Major for solo violin, BWV 1006.

The gavotte could be played at a variety of tempi: Johann Gottfried Walther wrote that the gavotte is "often quick but occasionally slow".[11]

Other Languages
Alemannisch: Gavotte
беларуская: Гавот
български: Гавот
brezhoneg: Gavotenn
català: Gavota
čeština: Gavota
Cymraeg: Gafót
Deutsch: Gavotte
eesti: Gavott
español: Gavota
Esperanto: Gavoto
euskara: Gabota
français: Gavotte (danse)
한국어: 가보트
Ido: Gavoto
italiano: Gavotta
עברית: גבוט
қазақша: Гавот
Кыргызча: Гавот
magyar: Gavotte
Nederlands: Gavotte
日本語: ガヴォット
norsk: Gavotte
norsk nynorsk: Gavotte
polski: Gawot
português: Gavota
русский: Гавот
Simple English: Gavotte
српски / srpski: Гавота
suomi: Gavotti
svenska: Gavott
українська: Гавот
Tiếng Việt: Gavotte
中文: 加沃特