Set of instrumental dances or dancelike movements. The suite originated in the paired dances of the 14th–16th centuries (pavane-galliard, basse danse-saltarello, etc.). In the 16th–17th centuries German composers began to write sets of three or four dances, as in Johann Hermann Schein's Banchetto musicale (1617). In the late 17th century a basic ordering of four dancesallemande, courante, sarabande, and giguebecame established as standard; other dances came to be interpolated between the sarabande and gigue. In the 19th century suite came to refer to sets of instrumental excerpts from operas and ballets.
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