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Concerning the Sarabanda with its types.  For singing, playing, and dancing

This has no other emotion to express but ambition; Yet it differs from the above-mentioned types in the fact that the sarabande for dancing is stricter and yet much more bombastic than the others; so t8hat it permits no running notes, because Grandessa [grandeur, haughtiness] abhors such, and mantains its seriousness. 

For playing on the clavier and ont he lute one lowers oneself somewhat with this category of melody, uses more liberties, indeed, even makes doubles or arpeggiated works of it, which are commonly called variations, though Doubles by the French.  Lambert, the father-in-law of Lully, tended to use such diminutions, if I may say so, even in vocal sarabandes.  Each to his own taste: but such would not be mine.

Also the familiar Foles d'Espagne appear in a acertain way to belong among the sarabandes; they are however by no means trivialities, seriously speaking.  For thise is truly more good in such an ancient melody, whose compass is only a small forth, than in all Moorish dances which may have ever been invented.

Mattheson, Chapter 13, 118-120




“Folies d'Espagne,” which Gottfried Taubert calls “the most famous of all sarabande melodies.”


La sarabande est une danse lente et en même temps une danse forte, douce et noble, ... Mersenne, en 1636, la décrit comme une danse vive à 3 temps. Marin Mersenne, Harmonie universelle, facsimile of 1636 Paris edition (Paris: Éditions du Centre national de la recherche scientifique, 1965), “Liure second des chants,” vol.2, p. 166; “Liure second des instrumens,” vol.3, P-9 7-

Online Source:,_Marin)

Pierre Richelet, Dictionnaire françois, facsimile of 1680 Geneva edition (Geneva: Slatkine, 1970), vol.11, p.345.

Mace, p. 129.

Online Source:'s_Monument_(Mace%2C_Thomas)

Brossard, p.300.

“One can best understand the sarabande as a kind of menuet whose movement is grave, lent, serieux & c.”

online sources:


“Saraband was defended by the Inquisition of Spain, as it judged it capable of moving tender Passions, of stealing the Heart by the Eyes, and of disturbing the Tranquility of the Spirit. The Sarabande is a kind of passionate dance, which comes from Spain, and of which the Moors of Granada were the Inventors ”(Miege-Cotgrave, 1688).


Antoine Furetière , Dictionary , 1690:

“A composition of danced music which is of ternary measure [3 beats] & which usually ends by raising, unlike the Courante, which ends by lowering the hand, when the measure is beaten.

The Sarabande came from the Saracens, as well as the chaconne. It was so named, according to some, because of an actress called Sarabanda who first danced it in France. Some, believing that this word comes from “sarao”, which in Spanish means “ball”. It is usually danced to the sound of the guitar or the castanets ”.

Sébastien de Brossard , Dictionary of music , 1701:

a sort of minuet with a slow tempo and a serious mood. "The sarabande being to take it well only a minuet, the movement of which is serious, slow, serious" (Brossard, 1708).

Pepusch , Short Explic in Foreign Words in Music , London, 1724:

“Kind of always ternary (in Triple Time), and commonly played in a very serious and serious way. NB The sarabande and the minuet are very similar in many respects, except for the movement "(" excepting the different Time and Movement they are play'd in ")

For Nichelman (student of Bach):

"Serious and grave" melody. It has "the power to elevate the mind in a particular sphere, to strike it with admiration and to incite it to admiration" (R. Steglich, preface to the French Suites by JS Bach, Henle Verlag, 1972) .

Rémond de Saint-Mard , Reflections on the Opera , Paris, 1749:

This dance "always melancholy, exudes a serious and delicate tenderness".

Jean-Jacques Rousseau , Dictionary of Music , Geneva, 1777:

"Air of a serious dance, bearing the same name, which seems to have come to us from Spain, and was once danced with castanets." This dance is no longer in use, except in a few old French operas. The air of the saraband is at 3 slow beats ”.

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