In dance, the galop, named after the fastest running gait of a horse (see gallop), a shortened version of the original term galoppade, is a lively country dance, introduced in the late 1820s to Parisian society by the Duchesse de Berry and popular in Vienna, Berlin and London.
In the same closed position familiar in the waltz, the step combined a glissade with a chassÃ© on alternate feet, ordinarily in a fast 2/4 time. The galop was a forerunner of the polka, which was introduced in Prague ballrooms in the 1830s and made fashionable in Paris when Raab, a dancing teacher of Prague, danced the polka at the OdÃ©on Theatre, 1840. In Australian bush dance, the dance is often called galopede.
The galop was particularly popular as the final dance of the evening. The "Post horn Galop" written by the cornet virtuoso Herman Koenig was first performed in London, 1844; it remains a signal that the dancing at a hunt ball or wedding reception is ended.
Numerous galops were written by the "Waltz King" Johann Strauss II. Dmitri Shostakovich employed a "posthorn galop" as the second, Allegro scherzo of his Eighth Symphony, 1943. Franz Schubert also composed the fourth movement of his Symphony No. 2 on the galop. Particularly famous is the "Devil's Galop" by Charles Williams.
Some Galops were also written by Nino Rota. George Gershwin composed the galop "French Ballet Class (for two pianos)" for his score to the film Shall We Dance.
Blatter, Alfred (2007). Revisiting music theory: a guide to the practice, p.28. ISBN 0-415-97440-2.