How To Compose – a Galliard

This post will discuss approaches to writing a galliard.

First of all, a galliard is a dance of the Renaissance era that was developed and now commonly found in the Baroque era suite structure.  The origin of the dance is French and features dance partners doing a fashion of leaps, jumps, and kicks in an alternating left-right pattern.  These factors should be considered for when witting an appropriate melody for the galliard.

Here are some critical features that are characteristic of a galliard:

  • Meter: 3/4 or 6/4, but strong pulse pattern of 3 regardless
  • Tempo: moderate, but happily brisk
  • Theme and variation form of AA’BB’CC’
  • Jumpy, dotted, and syncopated rhythms.
  • Begins on the beat
  • Linear, stepwise motion with occasional leaps
  • Varies between homophonic and polyphonic
  • Composed based on this rhythm:

Be sure to familiarize yourself with the style before attempting to compose one!  Look into pieces of your favorite composers for inspiration and understanding or direction on how to approach a new work.

Thank you so much for taking the time to read! Feel free to comment, share, and subscribe for more daily tips below! Till next time.

Author: Bryan M. Waring

Bryan Waring is a graduate of USM's School of Music with a B.M. in Performance – Composition and is now attending Belmont University for a M.M. in Commercial Media – Composition & Arranging. During his time at USM, he studied violin with Dino Liva and composition with Dr. Daniel Sonenberg, as well as has premiered several pieces during the semiannual Composer's Ensemble concert series. In 2017, Bryan was a writer for the original musical theater work of "Molded By The Flow," directed by Paul Dresher and Rinde Eckert. Outside of school, Bryan has been involved with writing music for videogame developers at Portland's CI2 Lab, collaborating with the King Tide Party, and studying with Larry Groupé (Straw Dogs) in San Diego. Now living in Nashville. Along with composing, Bryan teaches music to children, receiving the Master Teacher Award for his work at ESF Camps; and does audio engineering for live ensembles. Besides talents in music, Bryan is a team-player in any competitive work environment; equipped with skills in leadership, organization, mathematics, creativity, communication, and managing. On the side, Bryan has worked as a model for several skilled artists in the New England area. Among his other accomplishments include obtaining the rank of Eagle Scout in April 2013 with a project of building a side parking area with guide rails for Webb Mountain Park in Monroe, CT.

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