saraband (sârˈəbănd) [key], dance of Asian origin that first appeared in Spain in the 16th cent. At that time it was characterized by alternate 3–4 and 3–8 meter and was accompanied by castanets and tambourines. Cervantes denounced it for its indecent gestures, and it was suppressed at the end of the reign of Philip II. In the 17th and 18th cent. it had a slow triple meter and a more dignified form. It then began to appear as a movement in the instrumental suite.

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

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