minuet

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minuet

(mĭnyo͞oĕt`), French dance, originally from Poitou, introduced at the court of Louis XIV in 1650. It became popular during the 17th and 18th cent. In 3–4 meter and moderate tempo, the minuet was performed by open couples who made graceful and precise glides and steps. The minuet left a refined but definite imprint on music; it is found in the operatic sinfonias of Alessandro Scarlatti and appears frequently as a movement in the symphonies and sonatas of Haydn and Mozart.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Minuet

 

a French dance, which developed from a folk dance from the province of Poitou. The minuet became a courtly dance in the second half of the 17th century and then spread throughout Europe as a ballroom dance (in Russia, it was introduced by Peter I). It is marked by smooth, majestic movements, consisting primarily of bows and curtsies. The dance is in 3/4 time. In the 18th century the minuet acquired variations: the tempo was quickened, movements became more complicated, and the dance took on affected features.

Early examples of minuets appear in J. B. Lully’s ballets for operas, F. Couperin’s clavier music, G. F. Handel’s overtures to oratorios, and Handel’s and J. S. Bach’s orchestral and instrumental suites. Mozart gave the minuet exuberance and vitality. Gradually it was transformed into the scherzo (for example, in works by Beethoven). The minuet is rarely encountered in works from the late 19th century and early 20th (Debussy, Ravel, Fauré, Tchaikovsky, Prokofiev).

S. P. PANKRATOV

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

minuet

1. a stately court dance of the 17th and 18th centuries in triple time
2. a piece of music composed for or in the rhythm of this dance, sometimes as a movement in a suite, sonata, or symphony
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005

Minuet

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