to another; hence used for all modulations: (2) of bravura ornaments introduced, either in vocal or instrumental music, whether indicated by the composer or not, in order to show off the skill of the performer. Bach uses Passaggio for a 'flourish' at the beginning of the Prelude to the Suite in G minor marked No. 8 in Peters's edition.
[ J. A. F. M. ]
PASSAMEZZO or PASSEMEZZO, an old Italian dance which was probably a variety of the Pavan. In England, where it was popular in Queen Elizabeth's time, it was sometimes known as the 'Passing Measures Pavan.' Tabourot in his 'Orchésographie' says that when the Pavan was played less solemnly and more quickly, it was called a 'Passemezzo.' Hawkins says that the name is derived from 'passer, to walk, and mezzo, middle or half,' and that the dance was a diminutive of the Galliard; but both these statements are probably incorrect. Praetorius (Syntagma, iii. 24) says that as a Galliard has five steps, and is therefore called a Cinquepas, so a Passamezzo has scarcely half as many steps as the latter, and is therefore called 'mezzo passo.' These derivations seem somewhat far-fetched, and it is probable that the name 'Passemezzo' (in which form it is found in the earliest authorities), is simply an abbreviation of 'Passo e mezzo,' i.e. a step and a half, which may have formed a distinctive feature of the old dance. Reismann (Geschichte der Musik, ii. 22) quotes a 'Pass e mezzo antico,' from Jacob Paix's 'Ein Schön Nutz Lautentabulaturbuch,' in which periods of eight bars can be distinguished. It is written with five variations and a 'ripresa.'
Full directions for dancing the Passamezzo may be found in Caroso da Sermoneta's curious works 'Il Ballarino' (Venice, 1581) and 'Nobiltà di Dame' (Ib. 1600), from which the following example is taken.
At page 102 of Queen Elizabeth's Virginal Book [see vol. i. p. 530b ] there is a 'Passamezzo Pavana' by William Byrd, and at page 142 another (dated 1592) by Peter Philips; both are written in an elaborate style, and followed by a 'Galiarda Passamezzo.'
[ W. B. S. ]
PASSEPIED (English Paspy), a dance which originated amongst the sailors of Basse Bretagne, and is said to have been first danced in Paris by street-dancers in the year 1587. It was introduced into the ballet in the time of Louis XIV, and was often included in instrumental Suites and Partitas; it was placed among the 'intermezzi,' or dances which strictly form no part of the Suite, but were sometimes introduced into it between the Saraband and the final Gigue. [See Suite.] Bach, however, does not adhere to this rule, but in his Partita in B minor, places the Passepied before the Saraband. In character the Passepied somewhat resembles the Minuet, but it is played much faster, and should always begin on the last beat of the bar, although in some examples, chiefly by English composers, it begins on the first beat. It is written in 3-4 or 3-8 time, and generally consists of two, three, or four parts of eight or sixteen bars each, played with two or more repeats. We give the first half of one from Couperin's Suites.
In the Suite the first part (or first two parts, if the Passepied consists of three or four divisions) is generally in a major key, and the last part (or last two parts, if it consists of four divisions) forms a sort of Trio or 2nd Passepied, and is in the minor, in which key the dance concludes. Couperin develops this still further, and has a Passepied with variations. The dance became popular in England towards the beginning of the 18th century, and many examples by English composers are extant. Directions for dancing it, as it was performed in the ballet by one or two dancers, will be found in Feuillet's 'Chorégraphie.' [See Orchesographie.]
[ W. B. S. ]
PASSING NOTES are inessential discordant notes which are interposed between the essential factors of the harmonic structure of music on melodic principles. Their simplest form is the succession of notes diatonically connected which fill up the intervals between the component notes of essential chords, and fall upon the unaccented portions of the bar: as in the following example
- In a MS. volume of airs and dances by Strogers, Dowland, and Reade, preserved in the Cambridge University Library, it is called 'Passmezures Pavan.' See 'Twelfth Night.' Act v, Sc. 1.
- The proper expression seems to be 'to run a Passepied.' Thus Noverre 'Lettres sur la Danse,' p. 164. has the following:—'Ils font des Paisepieds parce que Mademoiselle Prévôt les couroit avec élégance.'