A composition similar to a chaconne, typically in slow triple time with variations over a ground bass.
- In the 17th century the development of the basso continuo led to a proliferation of fixed-bass variation types, especially ostinato dances like the passacaglia and chaconne.
- The more boring details drop away into a passacaglia's inevitable ground bass, whilst the exciting become magnified beneath a glass destructive of proportion and accuracy.
- Despite the title and the assertion of the liner notes (arguing for a modern passacaglia), this really isn't a passacaglia, but a variation set, with a finale that runs through the highpoints of the rest of the piece.
Italian, from Spanish pasacalle, from pasar 'to pass' + calle 'street' (because originally it was a dance often played in the streets).
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