MINUET (adapted, under the influence of the Italian minuetto, from Fr. menuet, small, pretty, delicate, a diminutive of menu, from Lat. minulus; the word refers probably to the short steps, pas menus, taken in the dance), a dance for two persons, in J time. At the period when it was most fashionable it was slow, ceremonious, and graceful (see DANCE). The name is also given to a musical composition written in the same time and rhythm, but when not accompanying an actual dance the pace was quicker. An example of the true form of the minuet is to be found in Don Giovanni. The minuet is frequently found as one of the movements in the Suites of Handel and Bach. Haydn introduced it into the symphony, with little trace of the slow grace and ceremony of the dance. In the hands of Beethoven it becomes the scherzo.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)