In a performance context the Gigue en rondeau No.1 would be followed by Gigue en rondeau No.2. The two Gigue en rondeau from Rameau’s Suite in E minor from his 1724 collection are excellent movements for a keyboard player to explore. The repeating sections have been written out simply for clarity as far as reading the music is concerned. In some editions there is a repeat of the opening 8 bar section but in a performance this does rather spoils the symmetry of the movement. The music is presented in a plain score format with minimal score detail and ornamentation has been deliberately omitted. Rameau was a leading French composer of both opera and harpsichord music and also known as a music theorist publishing a Treatise on Harmony in 1722. His music was largely out of fashion by the end of the 18th but there is a renewed interest in his music with recent performances and recordings. Interestingly he didn’t start composing opera until he was in his 50’s. He was one of the masters of 18th century French school of harpsichordists, publishing collections in 1706, 1724 and 1727. Whilst his keyboard music was intended for the harpsichord in more recent times it is frequently performed on the piano and there are transcriptions of many movements available for the organ. The music editions available do generally relate to performances on the harpsichord and these generally have ornaments played in both hands which is not something so common in piano music. The rondeau is a form derived from early French poetry which was shared with the chanson (song form) in the medieval and Renaissance times. It features a repeating refrain (or chorus) and something in time that was adopted in both dance and instrumental forms.
The form of this particular movement can be represented as ABACA with A representing the repeating refrain or chorus. The piano version plays back at 84 dotted quarter notes to the minute.