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December 02 , 2008

Medieval Instrumental Dances


In Europe the tradition of secular dance has continued unbroken until the present. In the late Middle Ages it was an important and frequent event—for the nobility a gracious way to entertain guests, for the peasantry a welcome relaxation from the toils of the day. Now back in print, this collection presents compositions that are known or suspected to be instrumental dances from before ca. 1420. The 47 pieces vary in length and style and come from French, Italian, English, and Czech sources. Timothy McGee relates medieval dances to the descriptions found in literary, theoretical, and archival sources and to the depictions in the iconography of the Middle Ages. In a section on instrumental performance practices, he provides information about ornamenting the dances and improvising in a historically appropriate style. This comprehensive edition brings together in one volume a repertory that has been scattered over many years and countries.

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