How To Compose – an Allemande

This post will discuss approaches to writing an allemande.

First of all, an allemande is a dance commonly found in the Baroque era suite. The origin of the dance is believed to be German from historic records and features dance partners facing each other, interweaving arms, turning, and adding slight hops to their steps. These factors should be considered for when witting an appropriate melody for the allemande.

Here are some critical features that are characteristic of an allemande:

  • Meter: 4/4, with strong duple pulse
  • Tempo: moderate, but can vary slightly between relaxed and fast
  • Binary form of AB, with the B section usually longer than the A section
  • If A section begins in a major key, it cadences in the dominant where the B section will start and return back to the home major key
  • If the A section begins in a minor key, it cadences in the dominant/relative major where the B section will start and return back to the home minor key
  • B section often begins with the transposition of the main theme
  • Begins with an upbeat
  • Flowing eighth/sixteenth notes supported by a steady bass
  • Polyphonic; however, can be written for a solo instrument
  • 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.

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