Double Reed Class description

                    L’art et instruction de bien dancer

A Renaissance Musical Dance-a-thon:

Margaret of Austria’s Basse danse MS, the Copenhagen MS, the Fitzwilliam Wind Band MS, dance collections by Susato, Phalèse, Moritz van Hessen, & Praetorius, to name a few!

 Main Topics:

The origins of dance music.

What do you mean I have to improvise?! Simple approaches to basse danse tenors.

Basic dance steps for better living: Understanding what exactly we’re supposed to be accompanying and phrasing to help move the feet–––a workshop with Peggy Murray!

Lace up your dancing shoes and make sure to stretch properly because this year we’re excited to announce our first dance-themed alta capella workshop! It seems that from the 14th century, the alta capella was the preferred ensemble for festivities and merrymaking that included dance, as Konrad of Megenburg tells us in his Yconomica (mid-14th c.):

Indeed, in modern times, the shawms and loud trumpets generally banish the sober fiddles from the feasts, and the young girls dance eagerly to the loud noise….

We’ll embark on a journey through basses danses, pavanes, galliards, bransles, bergerettes, courantes, gigues, and anywhere else our feet take us, traversing the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries into the seventeenth. We’ll look at notated examples from pan-European sources from the homophonic to the polyphonic, and even examples of secular dance infiltrating the sacred space, notably in Henricus Isaac’s Missa la Spagne and Guillaume Faugues’ Missa la basse danse. As a special feature of this iteration of the workshop, we will have Renaissance and baroque dance specialist Peggy Murray join us for an evening of dance, where participants will have the opportunity of taking turns learning (or refreshing) basic steps to the dances and, alternately, playing for those dancing!

As in the past, Dulcian Days will precede the full workshop, meeting Monday morning through Wednesday afternoon, during which time dulcians and sackbuts will focus on the later repertoire, including the dance collections of Tielman Susato, Moritz van Hessen, and Michael Praetorius. The shawms will join us Wednesday evening for the remainder of the workshop as we expand our repertoire both earlier and later.

The first half of each day will be dedicated to reed or sackbut technique and performance practice. The first hour will consist of a warm-up session in conjunction with familiarizing ourselves with the most popular basse danse tunes of the fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries and tracing some of their origins. The second half of the morning will be spent on continuing discussions and practice of solmization and mode, looking at rules for improvising a simple contrapuntal line to a tenor, and understanding the place of dance in Renaissance society.

Afternoons and evenings will consist of playing sessions in mixed groups of sackbuts and double reeds. Selections from all the sources will be provided in both original (when available) and modern notation, though a strong emphasis will be placed on working from the original sources. This will give us the opportunity to see the music as our Renaissance compatriots did, leaving us faced with the same practical musical decisions that they would have confronted.

We hope you can join us for this week-long Medieval/Renaissance dance-a-thon!

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