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Stefano Russomanno

Degenerate music in the 17th music: folias and chacconnes


The music critic Stefano Russomanno describes the fascination the folía and chaconne exerted over seventeenth-century European composers. Initially condemned for their sensual character, and later appreciated as fixed harmonic progressions over which to compose variations, these two dances were used in Italy to give free reign to the performer’s virtuosity. They were transformed into magnificent structures at Versailles, and in Germany they became an optimal means for composers to unfurl all of their fantasy using simple harmonic material.

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