[SCA-Dance] Bassedances

Barbara Webb bwebb at inf.ed.ac.uk
Tue Jun 25 13:25:19 EDT 2013

I have a feeling I've said this before, but nearly everyone in our dance 
group likes bassedances for the following reason: instead of teaching one 
(or a few) bassedance as a choreography, we instead teach the underlying 
formula common to all the dances, and then end each dance practice by 
random choice of one dance from the sources. If you are familiar with the 
formula, it takes about 30 seconds to 'learn' and do this new dance. At 
the same time our musicians have their own formulas for improvising on the 
tenor, so we are dancing a new dance to a novel on-the-spot composition.
What could be uninteresting about that?

While there is no direct evidence that this is what they did in period, it 
is suggestive that the instruction manuals are set out more or less in 
this way, i.e. introducing the underlying structural elements before 
listing the specific patterns for each dance with a tenor line of music.


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