In dance, the galop, named after the fastest running gait of a horse (see gallop), a shortened version of the original term galoppade, is a lively country dance, introduced in the late 1820s to Parisian society by the Duchesse de Berry and popular in Vienna, Berlin and London. In the same closed position familiar in the waltz, the step combined a glissade with a chassé on alternate feet, ordinarily in a fast 2/4 time. The galop was a forerunner of the polka, which was introduced in Prague ballrooms in the 1830s and made fashionable in Paris when Raab, a dancing teacher of Prague, danced the polka at the Odéon Theatre, 1840. In Australian bush dance, the dance is often called galopede. An even more lively, faster version of the galop called the can-can developed in Paris around 1830.
The galop was particularly popular as the final dance of the evening. The "Post horn Galop" written by the cornet virtuoso Herman Koenig was first performed in London, 1844; it remains a signal that the dancing at a hunt ball or wedding reception is ended.
Numerous galops were written by the "Waltz King" Johann Strauss II. Dmitri Shostakovich employed a "posthorn galop" as the second, Allegro scherzo of his Eighth Symphony, 1943. Franz Schubert also composed the fourth movement of his Symphony No. 2 on the galop. Particularly famous is the "Devil's Galop" by Charles Williams. The "Infernal Galop" from Orpheus in the Underworld by Jacques Offenbach and the "Comedians' Galop" from The Comedians by Dmitry Kabalevsky are two other well-known galops.
Danish composer Hans Christian Lumbye (1810–1874) wrote several galops, of which the "Champagne Galop" (1845) is particularly famous. Other notable works include the "Copenhagen Steam Railway Galop" (1847) and the "Telegraph Galop" (1844). George Gershwin composed the galop French Ballet Class for two pianos for his score to the film Shall We Dance. Some galops were also written by Nino Rota.
- Blatter, Alfred (2007). Revisiting music theory: a guide to the practice, p.28. ISBN 0-415-97440-2.
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- Streetswing's Dance History: "Galop"
- William Geary "Bunk" Johnson, Well-known Soloists From All Walks of Life: Herman Koenig
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