A Dictionary of Music and Musicians/Gigue

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GIGUE or GIGA is an old Italian dance which derives its name (or vice versa) from the Giga, Gigue, Geige, or early fiddle. It was written indiscriminately in 3-8, 6-8, 3-4, 6-4, and 12-8 time, and was in two strains or sections, each of which was repeated. The time was lively, and it was usually employed to finish up a Suite. A good example is that which winds up No. 8 of Corelli's 12 solos.

{ \override Score.Rest #'style = #'classical \time 12/8 \key d \major \partial 8 \relative e'' { e8 cis4 e8 b4 e8 a,4. << { r4 e8 } \\ { e4 } >> | fis8 a d gis, b e cis d a << { r4 } \\ { e4 e'8 } >> } }

Bach also employs them to close his Suites, and has left an immense variety, not a few of which are in common time, as well as 9-16 and 12-16. The well-known one in the Partita in B♭ is in 4-4, and that in the last Partita of the same set in 8-4. Handel's 16 Suites contain 13 Gigues, one of which fills 6½ pages. Mozart has left a very fine little specimen (Köchel 574) which he wrote in an album at Leipsic after a surfeit of Bach.

English Jigs seem to have no special characteristics. The word came to be synonymous with any light irreverent rhythm, giving the point to Pope's line

'Make the soul dance upon a jig to heaven.'

[ G. ]