A lively baroque dance originating from the English

The Gigue is a lively dance form that played a prominent role in Baroque dance suites. Originating from English and Irish folk dances, it became an integral part of the Baroque musical tradition.

Key characteristics of the Gigue include:

  • Tempo and Rhythm: The Gigue is characterized by its brisk tempo and intricate rhythmic patterns. It often features compound meters, such as 6/8 or 12/8, which contribute to its lively and syncopated rhythms.
  • Structure: Typically, the Gigue follows a binary structure, consisting of two distinct sections, each repeated. This structured pattern highlights symmetry and balance.
  • Melody and Ornamentation: Gigue melodies are often characterized by their upbeat and playful nature. Ornamentation, such as trills and grace notes, adds embellishments to the melodic lines, enhancing their energetic quality.
  • Movement and Style: The dance's lively tempo and intricate footwork give the Gigue a sense of vitality and exuberance. It is known for its quick, skipping steps and energetic leaps.
  • Expression: Gigue dances exude a joyful and festive expression. Their lively character invites a celebratory atmosphere and showcases the dancers' agility and skill.

The Gigue's presence within Baroque dance suites showcases its importance in representing dance forms and musical artistry of the era. Prominent composers, including Johann Sebastian Bach, frequently incorporated Gigues into their suites, highlighting their role in reflecting the cultural and musical spirit of the Baroque period. This dance form embodies the spirited and dynamic essence of Baroque music and dance.

Example of Gigue

Young Hilary Hahn plays Bach (Gigue in d minor)