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.
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