This paper has a rather curious history as it arose in part in answer to a challenge. A friend (Calote of Wincote) complained about a requirement to write a research paper as part of an SCA bardic competition because it could not be done without "breaking out of personna (character)" and hence really didn't belong in an event trying to recreate the middle ages and renaissance. In answer to that challenge, I tried to write this paper in personna, that is as a 15th century scholar would have written it. (My SCA personna is Mustapha al-Muhaddith, a Moslem scholar studying in the Christian lands, hence the rather unusual form of the dedication.)
I'm afraid that in many places the paper has many of the same weeknesses as period style, for example the circularity of argument and the awkward prose which sounds like a very litteral translation of Latin into English. On the other hand, the result is, for the most part, a treatise on 15th century improvisation and counterpoint in the language of the 15th century. Although I occassionally alude to modern ideas, I try to stay consistently in the 15th Century. I think there is considerable value in thinking about composition and improvisation in the same language they would have used in the period of the basse dance.
Therefore, I am including the paper in its original form. Only breaking it into chapters and reformatting it in HTML. I hope you find it of some use. (For those of you who are curious, eventually won that competition and on the strength of this paper and the basse dance Alenchon, I was made Bardic Champion of Madrone).
[Paper Table of Contents]
[Basse Dance Project Homepage]
[Russell Almond's Dance Music Page]
This file developed and maintained byRussell G. Almond