The Ecossaise

A dance in the
Scottish style


The Ecossaise is a type of dance in a Scottish style, it particularly featured as one of the many types of contra dance which were popular in late 18th century and early 19th century. It was popular in France and Great Britain. The dance is in a quick 2/4 time. A double line of couples, men facing the women, is the starting position of the dance; as each of the figures of the dance is executed the couples progress towards the head of the line.

Grand Napoleonic Ball held by the
Jane Austen society Florence

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Ludwig van Beethoven

Beethoven composed Ecossaises
for piano, military band
and other ensembles

The ecossaise usually has significant dynamic contrast, that is loud sections are closely followed by softer sections and vice versa. They sometimes have a central tune, with subsequent strains some of which closely resemble the original tune. Being that the origins of the music was in country dancing, as were all contra dances, there is an energetic dynamism which undoubtably the aristocrats of Europe found as a delightful variation to their formal minuets!

Compositions inspired by the vogue of the Ecossaise include :

  • piano compsitions by the likes of Franz Schubert and Frédéric Chopin
  • works for military band or small orchestra by Beethoven
  • Guitar pieces by composers such as Mauro Giuliani
  • An Ecossaise by J. N. Hummel is included in the second volume for piano in the Suzuki Method

Find your favourite Ecossaise
Sheet music at this page!

Hermoupolis Students guitar orchestra
directed by David Grimes
performs a Ballade Ecossaise

Other Musical forms :

Ecossaise Media

Franz Schubert's Two Ecossaises
performed by
Dr. Alan Huckleberry

Mauro Giuliani's Ecossaise
performed by
Valery Sauvage

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