Minuet (Fr. Mennet), a graceful and stately dance, which had a celebrity in the last century equal to that at present enjoyed by the quadrille, the waltz, and the polka, but which is now rarely practised except on the stage. It is supposed to have originated in the French province of Poitou, and to have made its appearance in the latter half of the 17th century. The first minuet, said to have been composed by Sully the elder, was danced by Louis XIV. at Versailles in 1653. The name has been derived from menu, "little," the steps of the dance being short. The time regulating the movements of the minuet consists of two strains or parts, of eight bars each, in three-crotchet time, both of which from being repeated are called reprises. - The minuet or minuetto has also been effectively employed by composers as an exclusively musical movement in symphonies, quartets, etc. In this use the two strains consist of 16 bars each, and after being repeated are succeeded by a trio, after which the minuet is again played through somewhat more quickly.
The time of this movement, which is of German origin, is an allegro, and in the second performance of the minuet it is accelerated to presto.