|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.
The Chaconne: Origins
Lester Allyson Knibbs, Ph.D.
The Chaconne ---
Unitary & Binary Structures
Linear & Periodic Structures
Toward Cadential Structure
In the Music of Bach
In Cadential Structure After Bach
In Symphonic Composition
In Twentieth Century Music