[SCA-Dance] Bassedances

Barbara Webb bwebb at inf.ed.ac.uk
Mon Jul 1 13:32:13 EDT 2013

> "we always used the same music for the one dance we constantly did which 
> ended up giving us cues as to what was supposed to happen when. " My 
> most recent theory on the music is that the musical phrase of the top 
> lines (improved or not) would have ended with the dance phrase. The 
> manuscript sources could have been used as is for musicians who were 
> able to improv to see where those phrases were (and the tenor could have 
> helped a musician keep his place.) I have been intentionally teaching 
> with the specific music that repeats the same close on the Demarche. 
> That has helped the dancers immensely.

An interesting idea - but are you coming at that from a musician's 
perspective? Because (with my musician's hat on) it is usually quite clear 
musically where "cadences" in the tenor line occur, and this would 
normally dictate when the upper improvised or composed phrase should end. 
And for many (most) dances we have tried, the musical candences don't line 
up neatly with the ends of dance phrases. For me this is actually part of 
the attraction and interest of these dances, the tension between the 
musical and the choreographic patterns, which interweave, and sometimes 
intersect, but finally satisfyingly finish together. But I agree this 
initially can make it harder for the dancers to learn, and I will think 
next time we are improvising the music whether and how the upper line 
might mark the dance structure more clearly.


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