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For other uses, see Pavane (disambiguation).

The pavane, pavan, paven, pavin, pavian, pavine, or pavyn (It. pavana, padovana; Ger. Paduana) is a slow processional dance common in Europe during the 16th century (Renaissance).

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[edit]

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",[1]
  • or from the Spanish pavón meaning peacock (Sachs 1937, 356),

though the dance was "almost certainly of Italian origin" (Brown 2001).


The decorous sweep of the pavane suited the new more sober Spanish-influenced courtly manners of 16th century Italy. It appears in dance manuals in England, France, and Italy.

The pavane as a musical form 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]).



In Thoinot Arbeau's French dance manual, it is generally a dance for many couples in procession, with the dancers sometimes throwing in ornamentation (divisions) of the steps (Arbeau 1967, 59–66).

Modern use[edit]

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:

By Maurice Ravel. Performed by Thérèse Dussaut.

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  1. ^ 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. (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.
  • Sachs, Curt. 1937. World History of the Dance, translated by Bessie Schönberg. New York: W. W. Norton & Co., Inc.