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gavotte(gəvŏt`), originally a peasant dance of the Gavots in upper Dauphiné, France. A type of circle dance characterized by lively, skipping steps, it was introduced at the court of Louis XIV and was used by Lully in his ballets and operas and by François Couperin and J. S. Bach in their keyboard suites.
an old French dance of popular origin. It is in 4/4 or 2/2 time, the tempo is moderate, and it characteristically begins with an upbeat of two quarters or one half and has a clear rhythm. The music of the gavotte is light and elegant, sometimes with pastoral and sometimes with solemn nuances. The gavotte has been known since the 16th century. In the 17th century it became a court dance, graceful and often mincing. In time the gavotte was introduced into ballet and opera (J. B. Lully, J. P. Rameau) and became a component part of instrumental suites (J. S. Bach, G. F. Handel, and others). In Russian music, P. I. Tchaikovsky and A. K. Glazunov created highly artistic forms of the gavotte, and in the 20th century S. S. Prokofiev used gavotte forms (his Classical Symphony and other works).