The pavane, the earliest-known example of which was published in Venice by Ottaviano Petrucci, in Joan Ambrosio Dalza's Intabolatura de lauto libro quarto in 1508, is a sedate and dignified couple dance, similar to the 15th-century basse danse. The music which accompanied it appears originally to have been fast or moderately fast but, like many other dances, became slower over time (Brown 2001).
Origin of term
The origin of this term is not known. Possibilities include the word being
- from Italian "[danza] Padovana", meaning "[dance] typical of Padua" (as in Bergamask); this is consistent with the equivalent form, "Paduana"
- or from the Spanish pavón meaning peacock (Sachs 1937, 356).
The pavane's popularity was from roughly 1530 to 1676 (Horst 1937, 8), though, as a dance, it was already dying out by the late 16th century (Brown 2001). As a musical form, the pavan survived long after the dance itself was abandoned, and well into the Baroque period, when it finally gave way to the allemande/courante sequence (Apel 1988, 259ff[page needed]).
- Slow duple metre (2/2 or 4/4) by the late 16th century, though there is evidence that it was still a fast dance as late as the mid-16th century, and there are also examples of triple-time pavans from Spain, Italy, and England (Brown 2001).
- Generally follows the form of A,A1, B,B1, C,C1.
- It generally uses counterpoint or homophonic accompaniment.
- Often accompanied by a tabor according to Arbeau (1967, 59–64) in a rhythmic pattern of minim-crotchet-crotchet (1/2-1/4-1/4) or similar.
- This dance was generally paired with the Galliard.
- often accompanied by a song with oboe and drums.[clarification needed]
- Usually no florid or running passages in instrumental ensemble settings, but pavans for solo instruments usually included written-out repeat sections with variations (Brown 2001).
- Two strains of eight, twelve, or sixteen bars each.
The Dictionnaire de Trevoux describes the dance as being a "grave kind of dance, borrowed from the Spaniards, wherein the performers make a kind of wheel or tail before each other, like that of a peacock, whence the name." It was usually used by regents to open grand ceremonies and to display their royal attire (Horst 1937, 9). Before dancing, the performers saluted the King and Queen whilst circling the room. The steps were called advancing and retreating. Retreating gentlemen would lead their ladies by the hand and, after curtsies and steps, the gentlemen would regain their places. Next, a lone gentleman advanced and went en se pavanant (strutting like a peacock) to salute the lady opposite him. After taking backward steps, he would return to his place, bowing to his lady (Horst 1937, 12).
The step used in the pavane survives to the modern day in the hesitation step sometimes used in weddings.
More recent works titled "pavane" often have a deliberately archaic mood. Examples include:
- The classical composition Pavane (1887) by Gabriel Fauré, a modern version of the Renaissance genre.
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- The classical composition Pavane pour une infante défunte (1899) by Maurice Ravel.
- The first part of Maurice Ravel's Ma mère l'oye suite (1910), entitled "Pavane for the Sleeping Beauty", covered (as "Pavanne") by Joe Walsh on his album So What.
- The "Pavane of the Sons of the Morning" that closes scene 7 of Job: A Masque for Dancing, a ballet composed by Ralph Vaughan Williams in 1930 and first staged in 1931.
- "Pavane, the Girl with the Flaxen Hair", a dramatic script written and directed by Wyllis Cooper, inspired in part by Ravel's composition,[clarification needed] for the old-time radio series Quiet Please (1947).
- The Moor's Pavane (1949), a ballet choreographed by José Limón.
- The science fiction novel Pavane (1968) by British author Keith Roberts, about an alternative history in which the queen Elizabeth the First is assassinated and the Armada wins in the year 1588.
- The fourth movement of the suite "The Fall of the House of Usher" from the progressive rock album Tales of Mystery and Imagination by The Alan Parsons Project (1976).
- The classical composition "Pavane: She's So Fine" (1994) from John's Book of Alleged Dances by John Adams.
- The title of a song from Verehrt und Angespien, the second studio album of the folk metal band In Extremo.
- The song "Pavan" from the progressive folk album Evensong by Amazing Blondel.
- The title of a song from Water Forest, an album by Rurutia.
- Pavane (Thoughts of a Septuagenarian) by the Esbjörn Svensson Trio.
- "A Sad Pavan for These Distracted Times" is part IX of Vladimír Godár's "Querela Pacis" ("Complaint of Peace") oratorio (2010). Thomas Tomkins composed a piece with the same name in 1649.[clarification needed]Sir Peter Maxwell Davies composed one also, in 2004. The 'distracted times' refer to the execution of British king Charles I.
- The song "Pavane" by Jon Lord of the band Deep Purple, written and recorded for his solo album Sarabande.
- Eric Clapton released an acoustic demo song on his Facebook Page on September 30, 2014: "Pavane for Jay A" (http://clyp.it/kzbdzfqd) as an homage to skateboard pioneer Jay Adams, who died Friday August 15, 2014 at age 53.
- the dialectal/old form "pavan" for the modern Italian adjective "padovano" is reflected also, for example, in the family name "Pavan", rather diffuse in northern Italy (Anon. 2000).
- Anon. 2000. Cognome: PAVAN, Presente in 976 comuni. gens.labo.net (accessed 30 November 2010)
- Apel, Willi. 1988. The History of Keyboard Music to 1700. Bloomington: Indiana University Press. ISBN 0-253-32795-4.
- Arbeau, Thoinot. 1967. Orchesography, translated by Mary Stewart Evans, with a new introduction and notes by Julia Sutton and a new Labanotation section by Mireille Backer and Julia Sutton. New York: Dover Publications. ISBN 0-486-21745-0.
- Brown, Alan. 2001. "Pavan". The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, second edition, edited by Stanley Sadie and John Tyrrell. London: Macmillan Publishers.
- Horst, Louis. 1937. Pre-Classic Dance Forms. A Dance Horizons Book. New York: Dance Observer. Reprinted, Princeton, N.J.: Princeton Book Co., 1987. ISBN 9780916622510.
- Sachs, Curt. 1937. World History of the Dance, translated by Bessie Schönberg. New York: W. W. Norton & Co., Inc.