A Dictionary of Music and Musicians/Gigue
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.
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. ]