French overture

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The French overture is a musical form that was widely used in baroque music . It is usually in two parts, with the two parts being terminated by a repetition sign. The two parts differ in tempo , rhythm and style: the first part has a slow tempo (often referred to as Grave ) and a dotted rhythm, while the second part is set at a fast tempo and has a fugal character. At the end of the second part there is often a short summary of the first part, whereby parts of its melodic content can also be repeated.

The French overture first came to full bloom through Jean-Baptiste Lully , the court composer of Louis XIV , who used it in his ballets and operas from 1650 , and was a style-defining feature in France and its neighboring countries for the next hundred years. Almost all baroque composers made use of this form, including Bach in what he called the French-style overture BWV 831 and the 4th Partita in D major BWV 828 from the keyboard exercise , in his orchestral suites , in the 16th Goldberg Variation and in several cantatas . Many of Handel's operas and oratorios also begin with a French overture, including the Messiah .

In contrast to the formal French overture, the three-movement is Italian overture with the tempo order fast-slow-fast to get out of in the course of the 18th century on the pre-Classical Symphony classical symphony developed.