[SCA-Dance] Misc. questions from KWDS - Piva - revision of statement on quaternaria

Rachel/Judith judithsca at aol.com
Mon Apr 27 06:43:46 EDT 2015

So apparently I should not hit the "send" button at 1:30 in the morning, no matter how excited I am at the prospect of god academic debate//

 Date: Sun, 26 Apr 2015 15:08:35 -0700
 From: Greg Lindahl
 <lindahl at pbm.com>
 Denyel of Lyncoln asked:
 > Is Amoroso's tempo quaternaria?<

 To which Gregory Blount responded:

 <<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.>>
To which I replied:
<< I bed to differ on the statement that "scholars generally agree" that it is piva tempo. There are multiple cases of piva steps being danced over quaternaria music, Amoroso and Belfiore being two of them. One can play them more or less slowly, but that does not alter the fact that the music is quaternaria (4/4), and that the piva should be danced to reflect that, versus dancing a piva to music that is in proper piva/saltarello tempo (6/8). The music scholars with whom I have worked and whose work I have studied seem to think that the music for both of these dances is in 4/4 (with Belfiore having sections of 2/4 as well).>>

What I should have said is: Some scholars mensurate Amoroso as 4/4, some as 2/4, but in any case, there are multiple cases of one piva being danced across one bar of 4/4, Amoroso and Belfiore being two of them. Belfiore even specifically states that the dance starts with XII tempi of pive in quaternaria - there is a question as to whether that should be six bars of 4/4 with two pive per bar, or twelve bars of 4/4, but to my mind the sedate, delicate melody lends itself to the latter rather than the former. In both the cases of Belfiore and Amoroso, the melody does have an obvious syncopation that should be reflected by the pive. My statement about differentiating between a piva in 4/4 and a pive in 6/8 still stands, as does my comment about pive not always being fast, and my statement about prefering a medium tempo for Amoroso, quoted below for ease of understanding:

"In the 15th c. chronicles describing dance, there is also one explicit mention of a line of men dancing *slow* pive in a line like a snake. Therefore, it is obviously the case that piva does not have to be fast, or even syncopated, just as a saltarello does not have to be fast (take the instances where one saltarello is danced across a whole measure of bassadanza), or [nor does it have to be] syncopated (i.e. saltarello in quaternaria). I suspect that the piva may have started off as a chipper country step enjoyed by peasants and later became subsumed by the aristocratic culture, morphing to fill new additional stylistic duties.
     Now I have to say that my personal preference for Amoroso is a medium tempo - fast enough to allow smooth flow, slow enough to display the grace imparted by the melody and and the seduction implied by the dance's choreography."
 Judith, who should temper her enthusiasm for academic debate by sleep...

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