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The Collaborative International Dictionary

Gavot \Gav"ot\, Gavotte \Gav"otte\(? or ?; 277), n. [F. gavotte, fr. Gavots, a people inhabiting a mountainous district in France, called Gap.] (Mus.) A kind of difficult, old formal French dance in quadruple time. [WordNet sense 1]

2. Music composed in quadruple time for dancing the gavotte, having a dance tune which has two brisk and lively, yet dignified, strains in common time, each played twice over.

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

lively dance, 1690s, from French gavotte (17c.), from Old Provençal gavoto "mountaineer's dance," from gavot, a local name for an Alpine resident, literally "boor, glutton," from gaver "to stuff, force-feed poultry," from Old Provençal gava "crop." From the same source is French gavache "coward, dastard."


n. A French dance, in either 4/4 or 2/2 time. vb. To perform this dance.

  1. n. an old formal French dance in quadruple time

  2. music composed in quadruple time for dancing the gavotte


The gavotte (also gavot or gavote) is a French dance, taking its name from a folk dance of the Gavot, the people of the Pays de Gap region of Dauphiné in the southeast of France, where the dance originated according to one source. According to another reference, however, the word "gavotte" is a generic term for a variety of French folk dances, and most likely originated in Lower Brittany in the west, or possibly Provence in the southeast or the French Basque Country in the southwest of France. It is notated in or time and is usually of moderate tempo, though the folk dances also use meters such as and .

In late 16th-century renaissance dance the gavotte is first mentioned as the last of a suite of branles. Popular at the court of Louis XIV, it became one of many optional dances in the classical suite of dances. Many were composed by Lully, Rameau and Gluck, and the 17th-century cibell is a variety. The dance was popular in France throughout the 18th century and spread widely. In early courtly use the gavotte involved kissing, but this was replaced by the presentation of flowers.

The gavotte of the 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries has nothing in common with the 19th-century column-dance called the "gavotte" but may be compared with the rigaudon and the bourrée.

Usage examples of "gavotte".

Nocturne of the Sleeping Beauty in the Wood, the Gavotte of the Yellow Ladies, the Gigue of the Mill, the Prelude of the Drops of Water, and so on.

Arietta by Antonio Salieri, then she played a Toccata by Leonardo Leo, a Gavotte by Rameau, a Gigue by Sebastian Bach.

It gave way to the Allemande, then to the Courante and Sarabande, then to a pair of Gavottes, and then finally to the Gigue.

Little Miss Unwin is learning the gavotte, the cachuca and the minuet but, despite the romantic purpose of such dances, seems wholly ignorant of the male sex.

In the spring of 1883 he began to compose music, and in 1885 we published together an album of minuets, gavottes, and fugues.

More than a progress, that walking hood appeared to perform a gavotte, a bourree, which the absence of music made even clumsier.

Beyond, from the brilliant ball-room, the sweet notes of the gavotte, the frou-frou of rich dresses, the talk and laughter of a large and merry crowd, came as a strange, weird accompaniment to the drama which was being enacted here.

I don't know who found the outfits for the village musicians, but they were certainly clad for a grand occasion and seemed indefatigable in their energetic playing of old galliards, gavottes, reels, set dances and minuets.

We began with some minuets and gavottes, then we passed to some old pieces of Francesco Da Milano and other popular ballads and we went on with some simple dances.

In this holographic realm, the walls and the ship could be completely forgotten, and Melora could drift unencumbered through the heavens, dancing gavottes with planets, bathing in nebular mist, cradling newborn T Tauri stars in her hands, communing with the eloquent silence of space.

But he had danced his minuets and gavottes with my Lady Dunstanwolde as well as with other fair ones, and the country gentry had looked on and applauded him in their talk, telling each other of his fortunes, and of how he had had a wound at Blenheim, distinguished himself elsewhere, and set the world wondering because after his home-coming he took no Duchess instead of choosing one, as all expected.

In turn, irrhythmically, now here, now at the farther edge, the spouts stretched toward the sky like celebrants, defining the zone of calm with their innominate gavotte.

Minuet and gavotte determine the sequence of steps in the dusky, goblin-inhabited, ninefold green, nymphean lovers' maze of Zander's park.

I used to be a master myself of all the steps, waltz and gavotte and the Virginia reel and the others.