The Rigaudon originated as a Baroque folk dance in southern France between 1600 and 1750. Rigaudon, Rigodone, Rigolone, Rigodón and Rigadoon are common alternative spellings for the dance named after a dance master from Marseille named Rigaud. Traditionally, the folkdance was associated with the provinces of Vavarais, Languedoc, Dauphiné, and Provence in southern France and it became popular as a court dance during the reign of Louis XIV. The popularity of the dance spread quickly from Paris and Versailles to England and Germany.
The Rigaudon was especially popular in England where more than one type of Rigaudon was known and several Rigaudon's in 6/8 meter appeared in George Bickham’s An Easy Introduction to Dancing (1738). The duple Rigaudon was used widely in French ballets and operas. Occasionally, somewhat stylized Rigaudons were included in instrumental suites, usually after the Sarabande movement along with one or more other ‘popular’ dances.
The Rigaudon dance features couples moving in a lively pace to an upbeat duple meter. Encyclopedia Britannica asserts that couples engaged in jumping, running and turning as part of their sequence. This description supports the idea that critics saw Baroque music and dancing as having a boldness not seen in earlier court balls.
The Rigaudon dance contains four-bar phrases usually with an upbeat and a static harmony in addition to the duple meter. There is also a rhythmic accent on the opening two measures. The Bourrée and Rigaudon dances are practically indistinguishable in musical and chorographical terms. They both are lively duple meter dances with a southern French origin. The Allemande, Gavotte, Gaillarde and Pavvane are other types of French dances with the Rigaudon's duple-time measure.
Henry Purcell’s “Rigadoon”
In 1689 Purcell produced the first of his odes for Queen Mary's birthday, but he also edited and contributed to Playford's The Second Part of Musick's Hand-Maid...
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