What is a suite?

Alena Anisimova
Alena Anisimova
February 8, 2013
What is a suite?

Suite - a musical composition, which belongs to the genre of instrumental music. If the word "suite" is translated from French verbatim, then it will sound like a series, sequence or alternation. What is a suite? This is nothing but a multi-part cycle consisting of several plays, different in character, but connected by a common artistic thought.

Usually, the parts of the “suite” are very different in relation to each other. For example, if one is performed in a dance genre, the other may be in a song. Or one sounds in a minor, (sullen, dreary, sad), and the other, respectively, in a major (cheerful, playful, joyful). This is exactly where the suite differs from such genres of instrumental music as symphonies and sonatas, in which each subsequent part is an addition and continuation of the previous one and has smooth, barely noticeable transitions.

What is a suite in music

Suite as a genre was born in the 16th century. In those days it consisted of four parts, written in the style of four different dances. AND I.Froberger was the first composer to combine all four dances into one piece. The suite began with a leisurely dance, which was followed by a fast and then a very slow dance “Sarabande”. And it ended with a fast and impetuous dance called “Gigue”. These works of different nature and tempo were united only by the fact that they were written in the same key. At first, the suites performed on only one instrument (such as a lute or harpsichord). And later, suites for orchestra were written.

Interest in this genre increased in the second half of the 18th century. Such great composers as G. Handel and I. Bach contributed to this. They have written a great many suites. In the process, musical works underwent some changes about and became more rigorous and harmonious. Song melodies and intonations began to be used in writing suites a little later, around the 19th century. A large number of suites originated from ballets and operas. And still the genre "suite" remains very popular.

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