¡Habanera!

Habanera? Of course you know what it is! A very famous example —

The dance originates from Havana, hence Habanera; its provenance being more obvious, perhaps, from its other title, the Havanaise. As a popular rhythm it certainly caught on with French composers during the latter half of the nineteenth and early twentieth century; here’s another version, this time from Camille Saint-Saëns:

(obviously a warm day at this concert in Buenos Aires!)

Chabrier, Debussy, Ravel: they all tried their hand at writing this particular dance (with Debussy and Ravel having more than one bash at it).

Its basic rhythms look and sound like this…

…with the first example normally used as an accompaniment figure (as in the Bizet and Saint-Saëns above) while the second and third are more likely to appear as part of the melody line (ditto).

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