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I'm new to music and just getting to know the terms, so I read a bit on sites like wikipedia and watched some videos, but I still find hard to answer the following things about Copland's 1938 Billy the Kid:

  1. Why is it called a Suite? Is it because there are no stops in between its parts?
  2. Is that a single movement piece?
  3. How can one divide its nuances?
  • What does it mean to "divide a nuance"? Are you asking how could/should one break the piece into smaller sections to better understand and analyze it? – Todd Wilcox Jan 17 '16 at 16:24
  • Exactly, TW, that was my idea. – Patrick Jan 17 '16 at 16:50
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"Suite" is a traditional name for a collection of pieces, each in a different dance style. Bach used Allamande, Bouree, Minuet.... It's also often used for a concert selection of excerpts from a ballet e.g. Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake Suite. Whether there is an appreciable pause between sections is unimportant, the point is that there ARE clearly-defined sections. If the tunes were combined more freely, a title such as "Rhapsody on themes from Billy the Kid" might be more appropriate. I don't think you'll have any trouble hearing (and seeing in the score) where one section ends, another begins!

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    That's one part of the definition. The Suite in this case is a collection of excerpts from the full ballet. Usually the music is titled "Suite from Ballet XXXX" (many Stravinsky ballets had suites generated for things like pops concerts). – Carl Witthoft Jan 18 '16 at 13:08

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