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Galops

While going through the boxes of scores I’ve seen a lot of ‘gallops’ and ‘galops’. Wikipedia says: “the galop, named after the fastest running gait of a horse … is a lively country dance, introduced in the late 1820s to Parisian society by the Duchesse de Berry and popular in Vienna, Berlin and London.”

Cover from one galop piece

One of many galops

Our music is considerably younger than 1820, so it seem the dance remained in vogue. Or perhaps only became popular and played in the home later on?

Some examples of the galop dance can be found online (for example on YouTube). Even if the music is not from our collection (as far as we know yet, anyway), I think these films really help us imagine what it would have been like when people were dancing galops.

Galops were not only dance music or ‘simple’ music but many well-known composers have written galops, including Johann Strauss II, Dmitri Shostakovich and Franz Liszt. Listen to his Grand Galop chromatique played by Valentina Lisitsa (YouTube).

The Devil’s Galop may be familiar to many of us, as it was used in many TV series, including Dad’s Army, The Goodies, the Goon Show, Monty Python and more recently in Mitchell and Webb’s The Surprising Adventures of Sir Digby Chicken-Caesar sketches. This 30 second sample, featuring the The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain, may serve as a reminder or introduction.

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