Hilda Ryan Piano Studio

Baroque Dances

Studying a Bach Minuet or a Chopin Mazurka?  Seeing the original dance will help you get the feel of the music.  (Definitions are from wikipedia.)

The mazurka (in Polishmazurek) is a stylized Polishfolk dance in triple meter, usually at a lively tempo that has a heavy accent on the third or second 

minuet, also spelled menuet, is a social dance of French origin for two persons, usually in 3/4 time. The word was adapted from Italian minuetto and French menuet, meaning small, pretty, delicate, a diminutive of menu, from the Latin minutus

The minuet and trio eventually became the standard third movement in the four-movement classicalsymphony and sonata.


The ecossaise is a variety of contredance in a Scottish style, especially popular in France andEngland at the end of the 18th century and at the beginning of the 19th. The ecossaise was usually danced in 

The landler is a folk dance in 3/4 time which was popular in Austria, south Germany and GermanSwitzerland at the end of the 18th century.

It is a dance for couples which strongly features hopping and stamping. It was sometimes purely instrumental and sometimes had a vocal part, sometimes featuring yodeling.

When dance halls became popular in Europe in the 19th century, the lÄndler was made quicker and more elegant, and the men shed the hobnail boots which they wore to dance it. Along with a number of other folk dances from Germany and Bohemia, it is thought to have contributed to the evolution of the waltz.


The gavotte (also gavot or gavote) originated as a French folk dance, taking its name from the Gavot people of the Pays de Gap region of DauphinÉ, where the dance originated. It is notated in 4/4 or 2/2 time and is of moderate tempo. The distinctive rhythmic feature of the original gavotte is that phrases begin in the middle of the bar; that is, in either 4/4 or 2/2 time, the phrases begin on the third quarter note of the bar, creating a half-measure upbeat.


In music, the sarabande (It., sarabanda) is a dance in triple metre. The second and third beats of each measure are often tied, giving the dance a distinctive rhythm of crotchets and minims in alternation. The crotchets are said to have corresponded with dragging steps in the dance