[SCA-Dance] Misc. questions from KWDS

Greg Lindahl lindahl at pbm.com
Sun Apr 26 18:08:35 EDT 2015

On Sun, Apr 26, 2015 at 01:40:55AM -0500, tmcd at panix.com wrote:

> As best I wrote it, the manuscript says that the piva is "a double
> that is altered and accelerated by the music that stimulates the
> dancer to it".  Is this the only definition of piva, or are there
> similar ones from other sources?


Wilson, D. R. <cite>The Steps Used in Court Dancing in Fifteenth-Century Italy</cite>.
Third revised &amp; englarged edition. Self-published, 2003. ISBN 0951930737. A step
concordance. Went unavilable at Dance Books in December, 2010.<p>

The long and the short of it is that there are descriptions in several
sources; the one you cite is the most basic one, and the version with
the cut-under is kind of hinted at in some of the other descriptions.

> Is Amoroso's tempo quaternaria?

It doesn't specifically say, but, scholars generally think it's a
piva. Which means, yes, the slow tempo you sometimes see it danced at
is not right.

> Do I remember right, that she said that the manuals talk about one
> person "leading", and there are pictures of people approximately in
> file?  Is side-by-side also attested in pictures?


Vivian Stevens (Rosina) and Monica Cellio, <cite>Joy and Jealousy: A Manual
of 15th Century Italian Balli</cite>. I have copies of the 3rd printing, or you
can get it on-line at

for a discussion of this issue.

> Pease Bransle: about the only version I've seen is as in
> http://www.pbm.com/~lindahl/dance/Pease_Bransle.html
> "In the SCA, this dance is often danced as a partner-switching dance,
> with the women going past their partners in measures 15-16 to the next
> man in the circle. Arbeau mentions nothing of this practice."

The partner-switching version is now less popular than it used to be,
in fact I haven't seen it in a decade+.

> Horse's Bransle:
> http://www.pbm.com/~lindahl/dance/Horses_Bransle.html describes what
> I've danced: line of men facing line of women, men progess one place.
> He says "As usual, Arbeau says nothing about switching partners.  In
> fact, the instructions for this dance are very hard to interpret;
> there are other interpretations which are actually radically different
> from this one.  They generally start by having the couples standing
> beside each other, with both hands joined in promenade hold.  The
> couple doubles to their left and right four times, and then the men
> paw and move off to the left, followed by the women.  The only
> difference is the starting position, but the dance ends up being quite
> different.  I believe this is the only dance in Arbeau which has the
> couples holding both hands."
> http://members.ozemail.com.au/~grayn1/Horses.html
> says Arbeau says "... the young man held the damsel by both hands.".
> But I think the version I saw at KWDS was a ring dance, all facing in?

Yes, the ring version has become popular since I wrote those words; it's
just the line version with the top and bottom joined.

The "Occam's Razor" reconstruction now has some additional variations
from the one "promenade hold" one I describe.

> YouTube videos showed two different tempos, but
> http://www.pbm.com/~lindahl/dance/Bransle_Hay.html says 8 "sets" for
> the A and B section, where a "set" is single-single-double.  (When
> calling, I tend to call "pavane" for that sequence to save time,
> regardless of how fast it is.  Would "corante" be a better term?)

The coranto is much faster than a bransle.

-- Gregory

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