Papillons, Op. 2, is a suite of piano pieces written in 1831 by Robert Schumann. Meaning ‘butterflies’, Papillons is meant to represent a masked ball and was inspired by the novel Flegeljahre by Jean Paul.
The suite begins with a six-measure introduction before launching into a variety of dance-like movements. Each movement is unrelated to the preceding ones, except for the finale, in which the theme of the first movement returns. This movement starts out by quoting the theme of the traditional Grossvater Tanz (Grandfather’s Dance), which was always played at the end of a wedding or similar celebration. Repeated notes near the end of the piece suggest a clock striking, signifying the end of the ball.