The Suite during J S Bach's period
During J S Bach's period the standard order of the suite was: Allemande-
Apart from "simple" suites, Bach composed 6 "French" suites, 6 "English" and 6 partitas all of them written for for harpsichord or clavichord . It is not clear why he called them "English" and "French". In case of partitas and English suites there is always a prelude .
The dance parts were written in AB form. The B part is extended in such a way that portends the sonata form. Regarding the style, dances of the optional part are in contrast with the rest. They are simpler and much more of dancing character . This is because the Allemande, Courante, Sarabande and Gigue which are old parts, dating from the 16th century, they were no longer "dances" during Bach's period . Rhythmically, they were weakened and they had already become more sophisticated in terms of music and style. On the other hand, the optional dances derived from French ballets of the 17th century (JB Lully) , so they had maintained their actual dance music
Originally the term was used for compositions written in one part (16th and 17th century). However, later German composers, especially Bach, used this term to collections of musical pieces. So the word became synonymous of suite. Bach wrote two collections of partitas for various instruments. The partitas of Bach are called "German suites" sometimes by analogy with the "English" and "French" suites.
1.Willi Apel, Harvard dictionary of music, second edition, eighth printing.
2. 6 Partitas, BWV 825-
3. 6 French Suites, BWV 812-
Bach Partita No.3 in E major, BWV 1006 (III. Gavotte en Rondeau)