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minuet


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(Eng.), menuet (Fr.), Menuett (Ger.), minuetto (It.). Dance in triple time, orig. as Fr. rustic dance and adapted by the court in the 17th cent. So called because of small, dainty step (menu = small) which is characteristic. Soon taken up by composers of art mus. from Lully onwards and became one of optional movts. of the suite. It also occurred in ovs. by Bach and Handel. In 18th cent. it was used in syms. (and other forms) by Wagenseil, Haydn, Mozart, and others, becoming the standard 3rd movt. until supplanted from Beethoven onwards by the scherzo. Normally in ABA form, the B section being a contrasting minuet called ‘trio’ because some Fr. composers wrote it in 3‐part harmony or reduced the performers to 3. Note that, although Beethoven and other composers used it in their scores, the word menuetto does not exist in any language.

Subjects: Music.


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