1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Saraband
SARABAND (Ital. Sarabanda, Zarabanda; Fr. Sarabande), a slow dance, generally believed to have been imported from Spain in the earlier half of the 16th century, though attempts have been made to trace it to an Eastern origin. The most probable account of the word is that the dance was named after Zarabanda, a celebrated dancer of Seville. During the 16th and 17th centuries the saraband was exceedingly popular in Spain, France, Italy and England. Its music was in triple time — generally with three minims in the bar — and almost always consisted of two strains, each beginning upon the first beat, and most frequently ending on the second or third. Many very fine examples occur in the Suites and Partitas of Handel and J. S. Bach; by far the finest is that which Handel first composed for his overture to Almira, and afterwards adapted to the words “Lascia, ch'io pianga,” in Rinaldo.