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).

Origin of term

The origin of this term is not known. Possibilities includethe word being from Pava, a dialect form of Padua (in Italian, both "pavana" and "padoano" are adjectives meaning "of Padua") (Brown 2001); a descendant of the Sanskrit word meaning windFact|date=November 2007; 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 musical pavane survived hundreds of years after the dance itself was abandoned, especially in the form of the tombeau. At Louis XIV's court the pavane was superseded by the courante.Fact|date=November 2007


*Slow duple metre (Double Time 2/2).
*Generally follows the form of A,A1, B,B1, C,C1.
*It generally uses counterpoint or homophonic accompaniment.
*Often accompanied by a tabor, according to Arbeau 1967, 59–64) in a rhythmic pattern of minim-crotchet-crotchet (1/2-1/4-1/4) or similar, and this was generally followed with little variation by the melodyFact|date=November 2007; there were rarely minims in the centre of the bar, for example.Fact|date=November 2007
*This dance was generally paired with the Galliard.


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). In the "English Measures" manuscripts, the "pavane" is one of several similar dances classed as "measures"; danced by a line of couples, it is simple and choreographed.Fact|date=November 2007 In Italian sources, the "pavane" is often a fairly complicated dance for one couple, with galliard and other sections.Fact|date=November 2007

Modern use

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:
* The classical composition "Pavane" (1887) by Gabriel Fauré. (This is a modern version of the Renaissance version.)
* The classical composition "Pavane for a Dead Princess" (1899) by Maurice Ravel
* "Pavane: She's So Fine" (1994) from "John's Book of Alleged Dances" by John Coolidge Adams
* The choreography "The Moor’s Pavane" (1949) by José Limón
* The title of Keith Roberts' novel "Pavane" (1968) is an allusion to the dance of the same name and is divided into measures and a coda.
* The title of a song from Verehrt und Angespien, the second studio album of the folk metal band In Extremo
* The fourth movement of the suite "The Fall of the House of Usher" from the progressive rock album Tales of Mystery and Imagination by The Alan Parsons Project (1976)


*Arbeau, Thoinot. 1967. "Orchesography". Translated by Mary Stewart Evans. With a new introd. 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", ed. S. Sadie and J. Tyrrell. London: Macmillan.
*Sachs, Curt. 1937. "World History of the Dance". Translated by Bessie Schönberg. New York: W. W. Norton & Co., Inc.

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