pennsicdance:sheet music interp

whirlygig whirlygig at
Thu Sep 15 09:49:12 PDT 2005

Putting my music geeking hat on for a sec; but there are SO many fun
variations of musical tempo between dirge and NASCAR.

What I think is lacking here for everyone- are the markings that tell the
mood the composer set the piece - and/or how many internal beats the quarter
notes get per minute, (the speed you set your metronome/click track.)
I.E Common markings:  Lento / Largo (10-60), Larghetto (61-72), Adagio
(72-81), Andante (82-101), Moderato (102-124), Allegro (125-176), Presto
(177-197), Prestissimo (199-300).  There are secondary marks that were also
used like "animato", or "con brio" (with brightness); but we'll leave that
be for now.

Unlike much of the music that survives from the 17th and 18th century, or
choral music of the 16th, 15th... the dance music seems to have lost that
critical musical notation, at least in the SCA books.  (And I would
definitely encourage heavy musician involvement to create them if those
markings aren't out there to be put in; like a team of musicians on
different instruments with dancers working together...)  The other thing to
consider about considering tempo and pacing are the instruments they would
have been using, and how easy/hard it would have been to change fingering
within the phrases.

Many of the chants and madrigals still have this marking:  Examples:  de
Vittoria (1540-1611) Ave Maria:  Lento (quarter=48);  Viadana (1564-1627)
"Exultate Justi In Domino"  Allegro (quarter = 144);  Certon  (? - 1572
"I'll say it Anyway"  Animato.   Most of my copies of Weelkes and Morely has
been translated (Joyfully, Sadly, Animated)... at least leaving
singers/conductors with a clue to musician intent.

So without that notation, it is left somewhat to the whim of chance; what
the musician or dancer wants in any given moment.

Focusing on Italian (15thC primarily, for the moment) the music & dancing
seems to tell a story.

Rostiboli = a courtship dance.  ((The couple meets, and separate to
speculate, then meet again.  Afterwards there is a disagreement and they
argue.  ((The argument could also be a ruse for 'playing hard to get.'
He'll chase her, until she catches him)) and the dance moves back into the
beginning stages as they meet again and speculate.))
Tempo for the A and C part- I think best pulled back- almost Adagio (about
the slower speed "Home on the Range" is sung).
The B (movimento) part, more brisk- Allegro (About the tempo "We Be Three
Poor Mariners" is sung)
That story is all in the music, IF the entire piece is not played at the
tempo of the movimento section.

Amoroso is much the same way.  Courtship, either in the spurn and catch; or
catch me if you can phase.  The flirting works at many tempii.  But the
music works best when the piece isn't played in cut time, where the eighth
notes become 16ths, and the quarters become eights.  Yes, the music feels in
'2', but the quarter note is still important or you get broken phrases
around the repeats.  I like it best as a musician in Moderato, almost
Andante.  (where the tempo of the quarter notes is similar to where "April
is in my Mistress Face" is sung.)

Petit Vrens- Allegro/Presto all the way.

Back to work  :)

----- Original Message ----- 
> > SO if you think that you have to speed a song up SO MUCH that music
starts to
> > be wrecked then I DO say that there's a high likelihood that there's a
> > problem somewhere in your reconstruction.
> And I bring up the point I made last week again -- who says the music in a
spritely Amoroso is being "wrecked"?  I find it cute and flirty, just like
the dance is.

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