Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Legal, Acronyms, Idioms, Wikipedia.


(swēt), in music, instrumental form derived from dance and consisting of a series of movements usually in the same key but contrasting in rhythm and mood. The principle of the suite can be seen in the playing together of two dances in contrasting meters, e.g., pavan and galliard or passamezzo-saltarello in the 16th cent. The early 17th-century English composers William Byrd, John Bull, and Orlando Gibbons published small groups of dances, with several movements written for the virginals. In France and Italy there developed sophisticated techniques for linking dances together, which were adopted by German musicians in the early 17th cent. As the connection with actual dancing disappeared, the baroque suite evolved. In France stylized dances were collected into ordres such as those of François CouperinCouperin, François
, 1668–1733, French harpsichordist and composer, called "le Grand" to distinguish him from the other musicians in his family. His harpsichord music, in its charm, delicacy, and graceful ornamentation, represents the culmination of French rococo.
..... Click the link for more information.
, while in Italy nondance movements were introduced into the developing sonata da camera (see sonatasonata
, in music, type of instrumental composition that arose in Italy in the 17th cent.

At first the term merely distinguished an instrumental piece from a piece with voice, which was called a cantata.
..... Click the link for more information.
). In Germany the suites of Johann Jakob Froberger established the basic group of movements as allemande, courante, and sarabande, with a gigue often played between the last two. The gigue was later the final movement of four. The late baroque suite, e.g., the partitas of J. S. Bach, frequently has an introductory movement and one or more of several simpler dances—minuet, bourrée, gavotte, passepied, and others—added to the basic group. Suites for orchestra, including Bach's, were sometimes called ouvertures. In the classical period the serenadeserenade
[Ital. sera=evening], term used to designate several types of musical composition. Opera and song literature yield numerous examples of the serenade sung or played by a lover at night beneath his beloved's window; outstanding is Deh, vieni alla finestra
..... Click the link for more information.
 was a kind of suite. Mozart wrote several of this sort for orchestra. The 19th-century suite became a collection of pieces drawn from incidental music for plays or from the score of a ballet, e.g., Grieg's Peer Gynt Suite and Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker Suite.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2013, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



one of the principal cyclic forms of instrumental music. A suite consists of several independent, usually contrasting movements united by a common artistic intent. The movements of a suite, in comparison with those of a sonata or symphony, are more independent, and their relation to one another is not so strictly prescribed; they also have a more direct association with songs and dances and with visual expressiveness.

The prototype of the suite was the contrasting juxtaposition of a slow dance (pavane) and a fast dance (galliard), which had become common as early as the 16th century. The classical type of dance suite took form in the works of J. J. Froberger in the mid-17th century; it consisted of four dances—the moderately fast allemande, the fast courante, the slow saraband, and the energetic jig. In addition to these, suites in the 17th and 18th centuries included the minuet, gavotte, bourne, passepied, and polonaise, nondance pieces such as the prelude, overture, aria, and rondo, and doubles, variations on one of the dances. All of the movements were usually written in the same key and were intended for the lute, harpsichord, orchestra, or other instrument or ensemble. The term “suite” was first used by French composers for the lute in the late 17th century. At this time, several different terms were used for a group of dances: in England, “lessons” (H. Purcell), in Italy, balletto or later sonata da camera (A. Corelli), in Germany, Partie (J. Kuhnau) or Partita (J. S. Bach), and in France, ordre (F. Couperin). Bach and F. Handel created sublime examples of the classical suite. In the second half of the 18th century, during the age of Viennese classicism, the suite yielded its position of importance to the sonata and symphony but continued to exist in the form of cassations, serenades, and divertimenti (Mozart).

In the 19th and 20th centuries, suites have been primarily non-dance forms for orchestra, sometimes including individual movements in dance rhythms (F. Lachner and Tchaikovsky). Such suites are frequently program pieces, for example, Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherezade. They are often composed from music for theatrical productions, operas, ballets (Grieg’s Peer Gynt and Tchaikovsky’s and Prokofiev’s ballet suites), and films. Some suites have also been linked with folk dance traditions (Dvořák and Bartók). The vocal suite and choral suite are special variants.

The term “suite” also designates a musical and choreographic composition consisting of several dances.


Popova, T. Siuita. Moscow, 1963.
Nef, K. Geschichte der Sinfonie und Suite. Leipzig, 1921.
Blume, F. Studien zur Vorgeschichte der Orchestersuite im 15. und 16. Jahrhundert. Leipzig, 1925.


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


(computer science)
A collection of related computer programs run one after another.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.


A connected group of rooms arranged or designed to be used as a unit.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Architecture and Construction. Copyright © 2003 by McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.


1. a number of connected rooms in a hotel forming one living unit
2. Music
a. an instrumental composition consisting of several movements in the same key based on or derived from dance rhythms, esp in the baroque period
b. an instrumental composition in several movements less closely connected than a sonata
c. a piece of music containing movements based on or extracted from music already used in an opera, ballet, play, etc.
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005


A group of items. Pronounced "sweet." See application suite.
Copyright © 1981-2019 by The Computer Language Company Inc. All Rights reserved. THIS DEFINITION IS FOR PERSONAL USE ONLY. All other reproduction is strictly prohibited without permission from the publisher.
References in periodicals archive ?
A first of its kind in the region, the Cinema Suites are guaranteed to give guests a memorable experience like no other.
"We spent huge sums to create luxurious suites that make your jaw drop the moment you open the door."
ThinkGeo's next major release of Map Suite, version 10.0, is expected in the summer of 2016, but developers can expect to start receiving beta features in advance via the daily builds which can be downloaded directly from the ThinkGeo Product Center.
Commenting on the launch of the Royal Suite, Waldorf Astoria Dubai Palm Jumeirah general manager Jan Moenkedieck said: "We are proud to present the ultimate luxury suite experience to Dubai.
The Mandarin Oriental's Presidential Suite ($18,000)
Creative Suite 5 features integration with online content and digital marketing measurement and optimisation capabilities for the first time, Creative Suite 5 products include access to signature Omniture technologies, to capture, store and analyse information generated by websites and other sources.
Whatever the size of your home, the addition of an en suite can be easy to achieve.
Teracore Inc.--3300 Holcomb Bridge Road, Suite 226, Norcross, GA 30092
Earlier in the year, The Monarch Dubai was named Middle East's leading new business hotel and its exclusive Monarch Suite was named as the Middle East's leading suite, before going on to be named the leading suite in the world.
34th: Weimar US is now in suite 818, Now Designs Danica is in suite 935, and Neuwirth is in suite 625.
Adobe now offers six new configurations of its suite of products, including Creative Suite 3 Design Premium and Design Standard, Creative Suite 3 Web Premium and Web Standard, Creative Suite 3 Production Premium, and Creative Suite Master Collection, which combines twelve of the new design and development tools into one box.