Definition of chaconne in English:



  • 1A composition in a series of varying sections in slow triple time, typically over a short repeated bass theme.

    Compare with passacaglia
    • ‘The first suite, to all intents and purposes, has only one theme (a Holst original), which from which Holst builds three movements: a chaconne, a rapid double-time scherzo, and a quick march.’
    • ‘While that kind of rhythmic systole codifies processional nobility, it is also germane to baroque performance practice, particularly in a chaconne.’
    • ‘As witty, but with a touch of profundity in its chaconne slow movement, is the brilliant First Piano Concerto, a less popular but better work, I believe, than its successor of 1951 (McCabe would disagree).’
    • ‘Hill's words suggested both the form and atmosphere of the work: two chaconnes, containing ‘long passages of meditative counterpoint’, interspersed with three contrasting interludes.’
    • ‘Both chaconne themes are slow and concise; the first is a six-minim rising motif, opening out through the augmented fourth to a perfect fifth, and the second, a dotted march-like theme anchored around E minor.’
    1. 1.1A stately dance performed to a chaconne, popular in the 18th century.
      • ‘The chaconne also became popular in France and, towards the middle of the 17th century, in Germany and England.’
      • ‘The Booth/Isaac correspondence of 1689 confirms this, as does Weaver's dedication of the 1706 Collection to the Duke of Richmond, and also the note on the first page of one of those dances (The Favorite) that it was ‘a chaconne danc'd by Her Majesty’.’
      • ‘During the early 17th century the chaconne appeared in Spain and Italy, where it became popular as both a dance and an instrumental form.’
      • ‘Cried Gluck; "when did the Greeks ever dance a chaconne?"’


Late 17th century: from French, from Spanish chacona.