The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians defines the chaconne as follows:
"A Baroque dance in triple metre whose musical scheme was incorporated into a continuous variation form.  The chacona originated as a dance-song apparently in Latin America and became popular in Spain early in the 17th century."  ("Chaconne", The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, 1980, London)
Janheinz Jahn, in his book Muntu, states that the chacona (Spanish for chaconne, which is the French form of the name) was a dance and musical form learned by Spanish settlers from African slaves in 16th century Cuba and taken back to Spain.
Characteristics of the chaconne are: (1) a repeating rhythmic pattern emphasizing the first two beats in triple meter; (2) a repeating melodic motion from the tonic to the dominant, almost always in the bass and usually downward, in diatonic or chromatic steps; and (3) a repeating harmonic progression from the tonic to the dominant by way of intermediate harmonies which usually include a motion from the subdominant to the dominant; in the minor mode, the subdominant function might be represented by the submediant; in the major mode the subdominant function might be replaced by the dominant of the dominant.
All three of these characteristics come from African antecedents, but the rhythmic aspect is particularly complex and well-represented in diverse forms in African, African American and European music.
Next - Origins of the Chaconne, continued

The Chaconne: Origins
The Chaconne
Lester Allyson Knibbs, Ph.D.


The Chaconne ---

Cadential Structure

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