Some Interesting Things About the Gavotte

The Gavotte was a dance of French origin written in common time and commencing on the third beat of the measure. It’s originality is a formal dance Lane the fact that the dancers looked at their feet from the ground, while in former dances of this order they only walked her shuffle. It was practically unknown in England until a French composer named Henry Ghys made a big success with one which had been originally written for Louis XIII, and which he had transcribed for the piano. This had an immense vogue, and may still be heard occasionally. The publishers began to look for gavotte high and low, and made the important discovery that Bach had written a great many. They proceeded to publish them wholesale, with an eagerness that was attributed by the censorious to there being non-copyright.

To the gavotte fever one important result may be attributed, that through it people were gradually led to an interest in and knowledge of Bach’s compositions.

It was at this time that Gilbert (librettist of Pinafore and The Mikado) made his celebrated bon–mot about Bach. An equally ignorant and gushing lady asked him if Mr. Bach had been writing anymore of his charming gavotte lately; to which Gilbert replied, “no, Mme., Mr. Bach no longer composes, he decomposes.”