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The courante, corrente, coranto and corant are some of the names given to a family of triple metre dances from the late Renaissance and the Baroque era.

Courante rhythm[1].

Modern usage will sometimes use the different spellings to distinguish types of courante (Italian spelling for the Italian dance, etc.), but in the original sources spellings were inconsistent. (In the Partitas of the Clavierübung, Bach use the different spellings courante and corrente to differentiate between the French and Italian styles, respectively.)[2] However, in Dance and the Music of J. S. Bach by Meredith Little and Natalie Jenne, the courante and corrente are given separate chapters and treated as distinct dances.[3] The courante had the slowest tempo of all French court dances, and was described by Mattheson, Quantz and Rousseau as grave and majestic,[4] whilst the corrente may be fluid and virtuosic.[citation needed] In Bach's unaccompanied Partita for Violin No. 2 the first movement (titled Allemanda) begins as if in 3/4 time in a manner one might initially perform and hear as a courante. The second movement is titled corrente and is rather lively. This may reflect a performance practice in which the second of paired courantes is played faster than the first.[citation needed] On the other hand, many "courante" movements by Bach are actually correntes as well: in the original engraving of the keyboard Partitas, movements are clearly labelled either "corrente" or "courante", but editors have frequently ignored the distinction.[5] Although an indication of faster tempo appears to exist in Baroque composer Georg Muffat's instructions on Lullian bowing, his reference to the "rapid tempo of courantes" is a confusion in translation. A more literal translation of the text indicates only "the speed of the movement of the notes."[6]

Another courante rhythm[1].

Courante literally means running, and in the later Renaissance the courante was danced with fast running and jumping steps, as described by Thoinot Arbeau. These steps are sometimes thought to be broken up by hops between the steps, but this is not necessarily supported by Arbeau's confusing and contradictory instructions, which described each "saut" as resulting in the completion of a new foot placement.

In Der vollkommene Capellmeister (Hamburg, 1739), Johann Mattheson wrote that, "The motion of a courante is chiefly characterized by the passion or mood of sweet expectation. For there is something heartfelt, something longing and also gratifying, in this melody: clearly music on which hopes are built."[7]

The courante was most commonly used in the baroque period. During this period, there were two types of courante: French and Italian. The French type had many cross-accents and was a moderately fast dance,[citation needed] in contrast to the allemande that preceded it. The Italian courante was faster, more free-flowing and running, however, it is not clear whether this is significantly different from the French Renaissance courante that Arbeau describes.[citation needed] In a Baroque dance suite, an Italian or French courante typically comes between the allemande and the sarabande, making it the second or third movement. The French type is usually notated in 3/2 or 6/4, occasionally alternating between the two meters, and is typically performed at a fairly moderate tempo[citation needed]; the Italian type, on the other hand, is a significantly faster dance. In the Musicalisches Lexicon (Leipzig, 1732), Johann Gottfried Walther wrote that the rhythm of the courante is "absolutely the most serious one can find."[8]

See also

References

  1. ^ a b Blatter, Alfred (2007). Revisiting music theory: a guide to the practice, p.28. ISBN 0415974402.
  2. ^ Alfred Dürr, preface to Johann Sebastian Bach, Französische Suiten: die verzierte Fassung / The French Suites: Embellished Version: BWV 812–817, new, revised edition, edited by Alfred Dürr. Bärenreiter Urtext (Kassel: Bärenreiter-Verlag, 1980).
  3. ^ Meredith Little and Natalie Jenne, Dance and the Music of J. S. Bach, expanded edition. Music: Scholarship and Performance (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2001) ISBN 0253339367 (cloth); ISBN 0253214645 (pbk); pp. 114-142.
  4. ^ Meredith Ellis Little and Suzanne G. Cusick, "Courante", The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, second edition, edited by Stanley Sadie and John Tyrrell (London: Macmillan Publishers, 2001).
  5. ^ Meredith Ellis Little and Suzanne G. Cusick, "Courante", The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, second edition, edited by Stanley Sadie and John Tyrrell (London: Macmillan Publishers, 2001).
  6. ^ Meredith Little and Natalie Jenne, Dance and the Music of J. S. Bach, expanded edition, p. 115
  7. ^ Quoted in Alfred Dürr, preface to Johann Sebastian Bach, Französische Suiten: die verzierte Fassung / The French Suites: Embellished Version: BWV 812–817, new, revised edition, edited by Alfred Dürr. Bärenreiter Urtext (Kassel: Bärenreiter-Verlag, 1980).
  8. ^ Quoted in Alfred Dürr, preface to Johann Sebastian Bach, Französische Suiten: die verzierte Fassung / The French Suites: Embellished Version: BWV 812–817, new, revised edition, edited by Alfred Dürr. Bärenreiter Urtext (Kassel: Bärenreiter-Verlag, 1980).

Further reading

  • Lenneberg, Hans. 1958. "Johann Mattheson on Affect and Rhetoric in Music: A Translation of Selected Portions of Der vollkommene Capellmeister (1739)". Journal of Music Theory 2, no. 1 (April) and no. 2 (November): 47–84, 193–236.
  • Mattheson, Johann. 1739. Der vollkommene Capellmeister: Das ist, Gründliche Anzeige aller derjenigen Sachen, die einer wissen, können, und vollkommen inne haben muß, der einer Capelle mit Ehren und Nutzen vorstehen will. Hamburg: verlegts Christian Herold. Facsimile reprint, fifth edition, edited by Margarete Reimann. Documenta Musicologica 1. Reihe, Druckschriften-Faksimiles 5. Kassel: Bärenreiter-Verlag, 1991. ISBN 978-3-7618-0100-0.
  • Mattheson, Johann. 1981. Johann Mattheson's Der vollkommene Capellmeister", a revised translation with critical commentary by Ernest Charles Harriss. Studies in musicology 21. Ann Arbor: UMI Research Press. ISBN 083571134X.
  • Walther, Johann Gottfried. 1732. Musicalisches Lexicon oder, Musicalische Bibliothec. Leipzig: verlegts Wolffgang Deer. Facsimile reprint, edited by Richard Schaal. Documenta musicologica, 1. Reihe, Druckschriften-Faksimiles, 3. Kassel: Bärenreiter-Verlag, 1953. Modern edition of the text and musical illustrations, edited by Friederike Ramm. Kassel: Bärenreiter-Verlag & Karl Vötterle GmbH & Co. KG, 2001. ISBN 3761815093.
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1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

COURANTE (a French. word derived from courir, to run), a dance in 3-2 time march in vogue in France in the 17th century (see Dance). It is also a musical term for a movement or independent piece based on the dance. In a suite it followed the Allemande, with which it is contrasted in rhythm.


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Simple English

A courante (called corrente in Italian), is a dance that was popular in Baroque music in the 17th and early 18th centuries. The word comes from the French word for to "run".

The courante was a fast, running dance with 3 beats in a bar (the time signature was often 3/2, although sometimes it was 3/4). During the 17th century the French courante started to become slower than the Italian corrente, and it often had more counterpoint (imitating parts). However, this was not a strict rule, and the courantes that Bach wrote were both Italian and French in style, and sometimes he called them "courante" and sometimes "corrente".

Composers of the Baroque period often composed a group of several dances. This was called a suite. There was usually an allemande, then the courante was the second dance, followed by a sarabande and a gigue and sometimes one or two other dances or as well.


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