How To Compose – a Gavotte

This post will discuss approaches to writing a gavotte.

First of all, a gavotte is a dance commonly found in the Baroque era suite.  The origin of the dance is French and features dance partners facing each other in a line or circle with everyone taking alternative steps to either side.  In addition, there is account of men kissing all the women at the end and reciprocated with the women to all the men.  Regardless of if this is true or not, the motions of how the dancer move are factors should be considered for when witting an appropriate melody for the gavotte.

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

  • Meter: 4/4,
  • Tempo: fast
  • Phrase-period structure
  • Begins with an upbeat on the third beat.
  • Flowing pastoral melody; fun and light-hearted
  • Often followed by a musette with a drone bass, that then proceeds to a da capo repetition
  • Polyphonic; however, can be written for a solo instrument
  • Composed based on these 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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