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minuet (mĭnyōĕtˈ) [key], French dance, originally from Poitou, introduced at the court of Louis XIV in 1650. It became popular during the 17th and 18th cent. In 3–4 meter and moderate tempo, the minuet was performed by open couples who made graceful and precise glides and steps. The minuet left a refined but definite imprint on music; it is found in the operatic sinfonias of Alessandro Scarlatti and appears frequently as a movement in the symphonies and sonatas of Haydn and Mozart.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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