chaconne

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chaconne

1. a musical form consisting of a set of continuous variations upon a ground bass
2. Archaic a dance in slow triple time probably originating in Spain

Chaconne

 

an old dance. The chaconne originated in the late 16th century and acquired its characteristic stately, majestic quality in the 17th century. It is danced in a slow tempo, in ¾ time. J. B. Lully used chaconnes as concluding pieces in his ballets.

In the 17th and 18th centuries the chaconne developed as an instrumental piece with a theme repeated in the bass, in a manner similar to the passacaglia. A chaconne for violin with bass attributed to T. Vitali and the chaconne from J. S. Bach’s Partita in D Minor for Unaccompanied Violin became especially popular. Many pieces have been composed in the chaconne form, including Beethoven’s 32 Variations on an Original Theme in C Minor for Piano. Composers of the 17th and 18th centuries used the chaconne form in opera finales.