The suite is an important instrumental form of Baroque music. It consists of a number of pieces. Each of them has a like- dance character and they are all written in the same tone.
The evolution of suite before J. S. Bach
As Willi Apel indicates, the development of suite during Bach's time is an interesting example of how several traditions and many music styles of different countries may contribute and cooperate with each other.
One could claim that the origins might be found at the combination of 2 dances, one in duple time and one in triple, for example: "pavane-galliard". These two dances had been very popular throughout the 16th century. Also important are the combinations of 3 or more dances that were played one after the other in a specific order, for example: Pavana-saltarello-piva. Such combinations are found mainly in Italian lute books of the 16th century . Let's take fot example the work of Joan Ambrosio Dalza. In this case, dances are arranged in miniature suites). After 1600, German composers also wrote their books using combinations of dances. Each of those composers had found his own order (eg: Paduana- Inrada-Galiarde, or: Pavana-Galiarde-Courante-Allemande- Tripla). Paul Peuerl' s work, for example, was significant and influential during those times.This idea of the suite as a unified musical form does not exist between French composers Their dances were simply arranged based on the genres, that is, there were several types allemand, courant, etc. Later, they were based on tonality. For example, a suite could include 5 allemandes, 11 courantes, 4 sarabandes, 2 gigues, 5 courantes, 1 chaconne, all written in C major. An example of such a loose set of dances is found in the works for harpsichord of Francois Couperin (edition 1713-1730). Couperin avoided the term "suite". Instead, he used the term "ordre" which probably was in use by earlier French musicians.
The significant contribution of French harpsichord musicians in evolution of suite was to transform the form of allemande, courante, gigue and sarabande from that of the 16th century. They also enriched the repertoire with dances that were included at the beginning of 18th century in the optional part of suite.
JJ Froberger (1616-1667) was the creator of classical suite. He was born in Stuttgart A part of his training was taken in Rome and a large part of his life was spent in France. Froberger enriched the German "renaissance" suite with stylistic perceptions of the French Baroque.
Around 1650 the prominent type of suite had 3 parts: Allemande-Courante-Sarabande. Gigue was introduced later as an optional dance, either before or after the Courante. Sarabande maintained its position at the end of the work. The order was set like this: ACGS or AGCS. After Froberger's death, the position of Sarabande and Gigue was changed. One may see this in the first editions of the assemblies, published posthumously, in 1693. There is a note: "mis en meilleur ordre" (arranged in better order). The schema was: A-C-S-G. Additional examples of this schema may be found in the suites of Georg Böhm (1661-1733).
The development of suite was completed with the addition of the optional prelude and dance (Minuet, Gavotte, Bouree etc).
1.Willi Apel,Harvard dictionary of music, second edition, eighth printing, suite
2 Comon 16th century dance forms
3. Dances of the late Renaissance (16th century)