During the early 15th century the Suite was born, though similar writings had occurred earlier in the former century. The suite began as an instrumental form comprised of a series of movements of the same key.

Early suites took on the flow and tempo patterns of existing dances such as the galliard or pavan. As times change so do music and dance thus, the suite was no exception. As the Renaissance progressed, more dances would be merged in consisting of three or four group movements, often with an introductory overture or prelude.

As suites entered the Baroque Period, composers like Bach and Handel wrote several fabulous works bringing the suite to its heights. Handel's 'Water Music' is basically a series of suites while Bach made his compositions famous with rich contributions from his piano, cello, and orchestral suites. Bach's keyboard pieces added the gavotte or a minuet dance with slow beginnings followed by faster tempos then repeating the same.

As composers were re-configuring the sonata, applying contrasting keys and themes to the suite, the sonata form was eventually replaced as it was known.

Into the 19th century, composers again revised the suite now connecting folk dances to its underlying legacy of nationalistic character. Either happenstance or intention now gave the style some separation from their creative works of ballet and opera performances.

Baroque Suite

'Water Music Suite No. 1'

Composed by George Frederic Handel 1717

Modern Suite

'Suite From On The Waterfront

Composed by Leonard Bernstein 1954

Renowned Suites with composers arranged by date













'Water Music' Suite No. 1
'Four Orchestral Suites'
'L'Arlésienne' Suite No.1
'Suite Pastorale'
'Little Suite Op. 1'
Suite from 'The Nutcracker'
'Karelia Op. 11'
Suite from 'Petrushka'
3 Suites from 'The Firebird'
Suite from 'On the Waterfront'
George Frideric Handel
Johann Sebastian Bach
Alexandre-César-Léopold Bizet
Frederick Theodore Albert Delius
Emmanuel Chabrier
Carl Nielson
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Johan Julius Christian Sibelius
Gabriel Fauré
Igor Stravinski
Igor Stravinski
Leonard Bernstein