A Lute-ful Quick Dance: Bourrée in E minor
Bourrée in E minor is an instrumental piece written by Johann Sebastian Bach. The piece is the fifth movement from Suite in E minor for Lute. It is also initially composed for the lute, a stringed instrument with a neck and a deep round back that surrounds a hollow cavity. This instrument was popular before the 19th century, often used for social entertainment such as playing an instrument or as an instrument for a dance. In modern times, the Bourrée in E minor is a favored piece among guitarist as it replaced the lute in recent times.
The word 'Bourrée' can mean to the lute/guitar piece. It can also refer as a social dance that accompanies the piece. The term and the dance have French origins, the dance has many varieties, usually with quick, skipping steps. Sometimes, dancers wear wooden clogs to emphasize their actions and the sound of the clog hitting the floor. Dominant composers of Bourrée and its suites include Johann Sebastian Bach and George Frideric Handel. In their compositions, the Bourrée has the gallantries or optional movements.
There is no known original script of the Suite in E minor for Lute, which includes this Bourrée that exists. The only known reference to the suite and the actual composition is "Praeludio – con la Suite da Gio: Bast. Bach," a piece for the lute-harpsichord. This piece was found and credited to Johann Ludwig Krebs, one of Bach's pupils.
Johann Sebastian Bach (1685–1750) was one of the most famous composers and Germany's most prolific musicians. He and his work shaped the music's Baroque period along with other noteworthy composers.
Bach is the last child of his family and was born to a family of composers. He was an orphan at age 10 and lived with his older brother, Johann Christoph Bach. Under his brother, his career in music flourished and the rest, as they say, is history.