Minuet, 1903. Patty Stair, 1869-1926. Music Division, Library of Congress. Call number: M1600.S
Minuet, published in 1903, is one of a number of SSAA choral pieces Stair provided for the active women's singing clubs that existed in Cleveland at the turn of the twentieth century. One of Stair's more popular compositions, Minuet was originally written as an instrumental piece for the Cecilian Quartet, founded in 1875. Stair added the text, of unknown origin, some time later. The form of this unaccompanied choral part-song is a good example of the minuet and trio form popular during the Classical period.
In the opening A section, written in G major, the stage is set as Grand-aunt plays the spinet, "Thin and worn [is] the spinet's tone." The B section, in C major, takes the listener to bygone days of "ruffled lace" and handsome "Beaux with sabres hanging by their sides." The repeat of the A section marks a return to the parlor and the spinet. Grand-aunt nostalgically recalls an old tune "which she danced to with her lover long, long ago." The narrator slips away as the Grand-aunt tearfully "plays the minuet tender and low."