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音樂欣賞. Music Appreciation. Dance. Like all the arts, finds expression in an apparently infinite range of styles, forms and techniques:

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音樂欣賞

Music Appreciation


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Dance

  • Like all the arts, finds expression in an apparently infinite range of styles, forms and techniques:

    • it may satisfy the simplest inner needs for emotional release through motor activity, in children’s singing-games, or the most complex demands of the creative artist on the professional stage; it may be profoundly subjective or philosophical, or purely decorative or virtuoso; it ranges from the ecstatically Dionysiac to the calmly Apollonian, the hypnotic to the cerebral, the totally pantomimic to the totally abstract, the completely functional – that is, serving a social or ritual purpose – to art for art’s sake. Like music, dance may be performed either in solitary privacy, or by groups for their own satisfaction, or in a concert or theatrical setting. Thus its pleasures may be gained either by direct participation or vicariously. As a theatrical art it goes hand in hand with costume and scenery, music and poetry. As such, it is frequently part of religious rites or put to the service of the state. These associations are not unusual for any art. What seems to be unique to dance, however, is that it appears never to stand alone, but always to be accompanied by musical sound, at however simple a level. For the ancient Greeks, in fact, music, dance and poetry were represented by the single term mousikē (art of the Muses).


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Middle Ages and early Renaissance

  • The Middle Ages

    • The key words saltare (saltatio), ballare (ballatio, bal, ballo) and choreare (choreatio, chorea, choreas ducere), as they were used by the church Fathers in either a critical or an approving sense.

    • The classical Latin definition of saltatio was ‘pantomime’, that is, representative dance in the hands of professional performers. This became ‘to jump’ or ‘to leap’ and, as the technical term entered into the movement repertory of social dancing.


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The Middle Ages

  • The more formal danse (danza, tantz, hovetantz) for couples or groups of three was, at least initially, the particular property of the nobility.

  • The key words for the dance-technical execution are ‘to walk’ (Middle High Ger. gên), ‘to step’, ‘to slide’, ‘to glide’ (Middle High Ger. slîfen); the embellishing schwantzen (‘to strut’; literally, ‘to wag the tail’) is probably the medieval ancestor of the 15th-century campeggiare (Cornazano) and the pavoneggiare of the 16th century (Caroso, Negri), just as these elegant processional dances themselves stand at the beginning of an uninterrupted series which leads on to the classical Burgundian basse danse and the more elaborate Italian bassadanza of the 15th century, and then to the pavan of the high Renaissance.


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The Middle Ages

  • The writings of medieval authors are full of references to the musical instruments that provided the accompaniment for dances.

    • Tambourin, drums and bells, pipe and tabor, frestels, lutes, psalterion, gìgen (fiddles), organetto, bagpipes, shawms and trumpets – in short, the entire palette of instrumental colours, either singly or in a variety of combinations, could be and was used to accompany dancing.

    • Estampie and danse royale, stantipes, ductia and nota, saltarello and rotta, well documented in medieval musical practice. From all this the forms of the instrumental dances emerge clearly enough: short, repeated sections (puncta) with ouvert and clos endings are the rule; their number can vary from three to seven. There are some pairings of saltarello and rotta which are early examples of the Tanz–Nachtanz idea.


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The early Renaissance

  • The culmination of the old tradition and the beginning of an entirely new phase of dance history came in the first half of the 15th century.

    • The dance, which previously had not been much more than a loosely organized, companionable and entertaining, orally transmitted choreographic activity, seems to have become an art practically overnight, taught and written about by experts who not only compiled the fashionable repertory and developed methods of notation but also brought to their subject a philosophical attitude and aesthetic insights which went far beyond the merely pragmatic.

    • The Italian dancing-master was a respected member of his home court, intimately involved with the private life and the public image of his prince, a man of status, well paid and much sought-after, teacher, performer, choreographer, writer and master of ceremonies all in one.


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The early Renaissance

  • For the Franco-Flemish

    • the basse danse,

      • the stately, quietly gliding processional dance that enjoyed the favour of court and town well into the 16th century.

      • Only five steps are used and these, having been explained in the introduction, are written in tablature: R stands for révérence, b for branle, ss for two single steps, d for a double step, r for reprise (sometimes replaced by c for congé). These steps are combined into mesures of


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The early Renaissance

  • Each basse danse

    • its own tune,

    • notated in tenor fashion in uniform blackened breves, each of which accommodates one step of the tablature

    • The rhythmic subdivision of the melodies lay in the hands of the musicians, who would add improvised upper voices to the tenor and create the sonorities that the occasion called for, using les instruments haults for outdoor dancing and particularly splendid festivities, les instruments bas for indoors and intimate gatherings


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The early Renaissance

  • Italian bassadanza

    • The Italian masters delighted in the invention of new shapes; figures alternate with processional passages, linear choreographies (alla fila) with others for couples or groups of three; an entire, newly developed range of dance-technical possibilities came into play.


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The early Renaissance

  • Italian bassadanza

    • Whether the pairing of bassadanza and saltarello (Fr. pas de breban; Sp. alta danza) is hard to say. Although combinations of a slow, stepping dance with a lively, jumping dance are present in the literature and the music from the Middle Ages (tantz-hoppaldei, baixa et alta) to the pavane–tourdion and pavane–gaillarde pairs of the 16th century, the Italian dancing-masters only rarely mentioned this sequence.


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The early Renaissance

  • After 1500 the first traces of a new repertory

    • The branle became visible both in the musical sources (Petrucci, Attaingnant, A. de Lalaing) and in the cheerful dance instruction book

    • the characteristic dance of the common people, gay, uncomplicated, frivolous at times; ‘and all those who take part in the dance acquit themselves as best they can, each according to his age, disposition and agility’ (Arbeau, Orchésographie, 1588, trans. Beaumont, 113).

    • Tordiones, gallarda, l’antigailla gaya and pavana were all mentioned in the university dancing-master’s book, although he did not yet feel altogether secure with these novelties

    • Not until 1560, when Lutio Compasso’s Ballo della gagliarda was published in Florence, was the galliard’s prominence asserted in the new dance repertory.


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Late Renaissance

  • Before 1630.

    • From 1550 to about 1630 dance is well documented in choreographic and musical sources, descriptions of court spectacles, plays, memoirs, letters and iconography. These rich resources reflect realistically the great popularity of dance at that time as both a social and a theatrical art. The historian is particularly fortunate in the nature and scope of the four large published manuals on social dance from the second half of the 16th century, a number which would remain unequalled until the 18th century. Less fortunately, there are still lacunae in the documentation of dance as done by professional performers; despite many references, for example, there is no precise choreographic information on ‘antyck’ or grotesque dances, nor on the pantomimic or acrobatic techniques of such travelling entertainers as the commedia dell’arte.


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Late Renaissance

  • Dance music of this period is not important solely as accompaniment to the dances themselves. The specific rhythmic patterns of the most popular dance types pervaded much vocal and instrumental music that was not necessarily intended for dance but was obviously meant to evoke it: in music ranging from lighthearted villanellas, canzonettas, scherzi musicali and ballettos to English falas and madrigals, and from simple settings for instrumental ensemble to virtuoso sets of solo variations, distinctive galliard, saltarello, canary and corrente rhythms are found; evocative dance rhythms and references appear also in more ambitious works (e.g. Monteverdi’s Zefiro torno, constructed on the licentious ciaccona bass, or Dowland’s pavan Lachrimae, or Seaven Teares). These rhythms found their way also into popular music still familiar today, like the national anthems of Britain and the USA (clearly a galliard). Furthermore, dance appears to have had a strong influence on the development of new forms and styles of the late Renaissance (1550–1600).


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Late Renaissance

  • The social dances performed at aristocratic gatherings included such large group dances as processional pavans, circular branles, or progressive longways dances ‘for as many as will’, but especially in southern Europe it was the individually choreographed ballettos (the direct descendants of the 15th-century Italian balli) which dominated such events. Ballettos were usually solo couple dances, but trios (e.g. Caroso’s Allegrezze d’amore), or groups of two or three couples dancing


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Late Renaissance

  • Popular individual dance types which appeared in both the dance manuals and the musical collections were

    • the allemande (tedesca), branle (brawl, brando), canary (canario), courante (corrente), galliard (gagliarda), tourdion (tordiglione), volta (volte), pavan (pavaniglia, paduana, passo e mezzo) and saltarello.

    • Some popular types, such as the bergamasca, ciaccona and sarabande, are not in the Renaissance manuals at all; perhaps they were still seen as too crude for courtly ladies and gentlemen.


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Late Renaissance

  • The biggest difference of all between manuals and musical collections is that the typical paired dances of the musical sources – pavan–galliard, passo e mezzo–saltarello, or Tanz–Nachtanz (Hupfauff, Proportz or tripla), which continue the old duple–triple, slow–fast combinations – seem to be largely absent from the manuals.


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Late Renaissance

  • The multi-movement ballettos of the Italian manuals do, however, most often begin with these combinations.

  • Most multi-movement ballettos are essentially variation suites, although they begin with the slow–fast, duple–triple combination;

  • Multi-movement danced suites may first have inspired the grouping of dances into the multi-movement musical suites which began to appear in the first half of the 17th century.

  • Thus, knowledge of how to perform dances from the manuals can give valuable insights into the relative dance tempos in instrumental suites of the 16th and 17th centuries.


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Late Renaissance

  • One last point remains to be made about the significance of dance music to late-Renaissance and later musical form: one of the givens at this time was that in any dance the symmetry of the body was paramount: whatever was danced beginning with the left foot (whether short step patterns or long choreographic combinations of step patterns) must be repeated beginning with the right. This mandate, of course, required repeated (or virtually repeated) music of exactly the same length, and it had to be clearly audible to the dancers (that is, musically related to the left-footed passage) served by the musicians. Whether in tiny internal repetitions, two-bar units, four-bar phrases or larger combinations, the choreographies in the Italian manuals particularly adhered to this ‘True Rule’ of symmetry, and the music reinforced it (see Caroso). As Caroso explained it, the perfect piece of music for dance was made up of multiples of two; indeed, it was a semibreve made up of two minims – a binary time value – that was now the ‘perfect beat’, rather than the ternary value of heretofore. While such aesthetic symmetry to meet the demands of dance was not entirely new (some 15th-century balli required it at times), the rigour of its application now may well have led to a new regularity of musical construction. Indeed, it is not beyond the realm of possibility that the almost iron-clad Vierhebigkeit of 19th-century music may have derived essentially from the needs of 16th-century dance.


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Nido D’Amore

  • The Video explores the social and technical intricacy of Renaissance dance. One dance, Nido d'Amore, exposes the techniques for all the major dance suites of the era. The refined introduction (The Opening) explodes into male virtuoso display (The Galliard), builds to mutual ecstasy ( The Saltarello), and culminates in a statement of strong individualism (The Canary). This suite mirrors the episodic changes of courtship.


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