From Young Composers
Jump to: navigation, search
Wikipedia.png This article has been reported to be plagiarized.
It is required that content be rewritten in order to meet Young Composers' quality standards.

The Sarabande is a dance in triple meter.


The Sarabanda, made historic by its performance by French Cardinal Richelieu (1585-1642) to please Queen of France "Anne of Austria" (1601-1666,) in 1635 and mother to Louis XIV. The Sarabande (meaning noise) was of Moorish origin and came from Spain in the 12th. Century, but did not originate in that country (some say Arabia). The Spanish name La Zarabanda sounds much like the Persian "Sar-Band" (headdress wreath), but is not linked to this. The dance was named after the Zarabanda, a beaked flute instrument from Guatemala, and was introduced into Portugal in 1586 and finally France in 1750. Before 1650 the music was some what faster than the later slower more noble and stately French versions due to Louis XIV weight and size. By 1750 the dance had lost its popularity but resurfaced again around the 20th century. The dance was a group dance mainly done by women. It was considered wild in manner and a highly sexual pantomime in nature, with undulations of the body, massive hip movements, flirtations, indecent song lyrics and women using castanets. When it was introduced to France, the dance included men who would dance it with the tambourine, which was considered effeminate in those days. People who even sang it were arrested, lashed, and exiled in its younger days.

Dance steps

The steps have not been documented to well over time and the only ones that are go like this (¾ time): The chief step consisted of a quick shift from toe-out to toe-in while the rest were slow glides. The Dance starts with a coupe', Chasse's and follows with a pas, tombes, sison and boure. The remaining part of the Sarabande was up to the dancer to interpret as they saw fit (the time signature varied as well.) The dance was considered a highly sensual, wild and exotic dance in nature.

Move from dance to suite

It became a traditional movement of the suite during the baroque period, usually coming directly after the Courante. The baroque sarabande is commonly a slow triple rather than the much faster Spanish original, consistent with the courtly European interpretations of many Latin dances. This slower, less spirited interpretation of the dance form was codified in the writings of various 18th century musicologists; Johann Gottfried Walther wrote in his Musicalisches Lexicon (Leipzig, 1723) that the sarabande is "a grave,...somewhat short melody," and Johann Mattheson likewise wrote in Der Vollkommene Capellmeister (Hamburg, 1739) that the sarabande "expresses no passion other than reverence."


  • G.F.Handel - Sarabande (with two variations) - Keyboard suite in D minor (HWV 437)
  • Franz Liszt - Sarabande und Chaconne aus Händels Almira, S.181
  • Jules Massenet - Sarabande espagnole du seizième siècle
  • J.S.Bach - Suites and suite movements, BWV 832–845


Musical Forms
Polyphonic forms CanonCanzonaInventionFugueOrganumRicercarRoundSinfornia
Sectional forms Strophic formChain formBinary formTernary formRondo formArch formRitornello form
Cyclical forms BalletConcertoMassOratorioOperaRequiemSonataSong cycleSuiteSymphony
composed forms
BagatelleFantasiaEtudeImpromptuPreludeRhapsodySymphonic poem
Dance forms AllemandeBalladBoleroContradanceEstampieJigPolkaWaltz

French: CouranteGigueMinuetSarabande

Italian: BarcarolleSaltarelloTarantella

Polish: MazurkaPolonaise