An ordered set of individual pieces or movements, tied together by themes or tonalities

"Suite" is a musical composition consisting of a collection of individual movements or pieces that are thematically connected and performed as a unified work. The term "suite" comes from the French word for "sequence" or "series", reflecting the sequential nature of the movements within the composition.

In a suite, each movement is typically based on a specific dance form or musical style, such as a prelude, allemande, courante, sarabande, or gigue. These movements are often performed in a specific order, creating a balanced and cohesive musical experience. However, the exact order and selection of movements can vary depending on the composer and the specific suite.

Suites originated in the Baroque period and were popularized by composers such as Johann Sebastian Bach, George Frideric Handel, and Jean-Baptiste Lully. These composers often composed suites for keyboard instruments, such as the harpsichord or organ, but suites were also written for other instruments or combinations of instruments.

The individual movements of a suite can differ in tempo, key, and character, providing contrast and variety within the overall work. The suite as a whole typically exhibits a sense of balance and symmetry, with recurring thematic elements and a satisfying musical structure.

Over time, the concept of the suite evolved, and composers in different musical periods and styles have continued to compose suites or works inspired by the suite form. While the traditional dance forms may not always be present, the idea of a collection of thematically connected movements remains a common feature.

Suites are appreciated for their versatility and the opportunity they provide for composers to explore different musical styles and expressions within a unified framework. They continue to be performed and enjoyed by musicians and audiences alike, showcasing the beauty and diversity of musical creativity.

Example of Suite

Mischa Maisky plays Bach Cello Suite No.1 in G (full)