dance music (Baroque)

Martin.Sheffield

Message 5228 · 18 Oct 1996 20:42:52 · Fixed-width font · Whole thread

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Kate asked: <<Are they longways sets of couples, or squares, or reels as =
in
Highland?
Too bad about the lack of strathspeys. Maybe they don't know they can be
played fast....>>

Somebody else answered that for me.

Kate said: <<I'm sure I can pull together an
interesting SCD CD. How about Baroque Violin and Flute with Baroque Cell=
o
and Harpsichord? There must be some of those already, yes? >>

Let's get together! Your suggestion sounds right up my street.
For years, I have been wishing I were musician enough to learn and play (=
at
appropriate tempi and bar-lengths) jigs, reels and speys from the great
Baroque composers. I feel many of their themes would be ideal for SCD, a
pleasure to listen and dance to.
Dance rhythms were the basis of music of the time, and Bach, Telemann et =
al
made use of these rhythms in the great works now played in concert halls
around the world.
OK, they weren't Scots, but our country dances go back to the same period=
,
which was a time when musicians and dancers traveled from country to
country (court to court), sharing their work and technique. It seems very
likely that the same music and the same dances were performed in many of
Europe's stately homes, and what is now known as ECD and SCD was danced
under a variety of local names. But for nationalist pride, it would not b=
e
so illogical if SCD came to be known as European Country Dancing, for tha=
t
is surely what it was a few centuries ago, as universal as the waltz or
polka at a later period.
As far as I know, the terms strathpsey and hornpipe were not used in Fran=
ce
(no-one could pronounce them!), but "Scottische" crossed the Channel
southwards, just as "allemande" (meaning German) did in the other
direction, along with pas de basque, jet=E9, coup=E9, quadrille, etc. Hay=
dn and
Beethoven wrote dance suites, including what they referred to Scottish
music, as well as Deutsche Taenzer.

Educated people of today would, Iam sure, find the aristocrats of past
centuries quite boorish, if we could travel back in time. I find it hard =
to
imagine they didn't let their hair down and get their knees up in a much
livelier fashion than what is suggested by modern recordings of baroque
dance music and by the stylized theatrical performances seen
occasionally. Who knows? perhaps they were all doing ceildh dancing and
reeling as boisterously as today!

Whatever the historic facts, do we really need an excuse to use music fro=
m
the past for our own purposes?

There are so many new dances being created, there can't be enough music t=
o
go round for each to have its own title tune. How about borrowing from
Haydn, Haendel, Vivaldi ..... a vast stock in the public domain.

<< Sylvia mentioned the 18th Century Night, Nov 23,
Greenland, NH, for an evening of 18th century dances with accoustic
harpsichord, harpsichord/fiddle and pipe organ! >>

I'm going to get so frustrated learning about all these fantastic events =
I
can't get to! :-(

Martin Sheffield, Grenoble, France.

-- keep the flag flying ! --

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