Composers of the Baroque period often composed a group of several dances. This was called a suite. There was usually an allemande, a courante, a sarabande and a gigue, in that order, and sometimes one or two other dances or as well.
The sarabande was a slow dance with 3 beats in a bar (3/4 time). There was always a small stress on the second beat of the bar. The note on the first beat would often be played quite short so that the second beat would feel heavy. Like the other dance movements in the suite, the sarabande was in binary form.
The sarabande seems to have come from Central America where it was known as "zarabanda". Although it was mainly used in the Baroque period, composers in the 20th Century such as Debussy, Satie, Howells and Britten sometimes wrote sarabandes.
Perhaps the most famous sarabande is one written by an unknown composer. The piece is called La folie espagnole. Many Baroque composers such as Monteverdi and Corelli and even some modern ones used this well-known tune.
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