1902 Encyclopedia > Minuet


MINUET (Fr. Menuet, from [pas] menus), a very graceful kind of dance, consisting of a coupee, a high step, and a balance. Its invention is universally ascribed to the inhabitants of Poituo. The melody begins with the down beat, and contains three crotchets in a bar. The music is made up of two strains, which, from being repeated, are called reprises, each consisting of eight or more bars, but very rarely of an odd number. Walther speaks of a minuet in Lully’s opera of Roland, each of which contains ten bars, the sectional number being five,æa circumstance which renders in very difficult to be danced; but Lully’s system of phrasing was remarkably irregular. Modern instrumental composers have introduced into their symphonies and quarters, &c., minuets of rapid movement and fanciful character, followed by supplementary strains (called trios) in a different style. Some of these compositions bear but very slight resemblance to the older forms; and many of them begin with the third beat in the bar. The finest minuets we possess are those in Handel’s Samson and Mozart’s Don Giovanni.

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