Section I.C -- Fifteenth Century English Sources


Robert Copeland

Robert Copeland. The manner of dauncynge of bace daunces. Translation of an unknown French source appended to his publication of a French grammar by Alexander Barclay. The introductory to wryte and to pronounce Frenche (London: 1521). Only copy in Oxford, Bodleian Library (Douce B. 507). Published by Mabel Dolmetch. Dances of England and France from 1450 to 1600 (London: 1949), pp. 2-4. Reprinted by Da Capo Press (New York: 1975).


This source is very similar to some of the French sources from the fifteenth century, particularly Tolouze, Moderne and the Brussles manuscript, although this source is somewhat more brief. It includes a number of the choreographies which appear in the other sources, although it contains no music and offers fewer choreographies than the French sources. The discussion is also more brief than that in the other sources, but the information which is there is very similar to parts in the others.


Salisbury Ms

Salisbury Ms. Untitled, undated flyleaf choreographies in copy of Joh. de Janua. Catholicon (Venice: 1497). Facsimile and transcription with notes published by Daniel Heartz. "The Basse Dance." Annales Musicologiques, VI (1958-1963), bet. pp. 310-311, pp. 337-340.


This source offers twenty six choreographies in the style of the French fifteenth century sources. No music is included. Some of the twenty six choreographies are identical, perhaps intended to be danced to different music, although with the same steps. Others are to be found in some of the French manuals of the same period.


Sir Thomas Elyot

Sir Thomas Elyot. The Boke Named the Governor (London: 1531). Facsimile published by The Scolar Press (Menston, England: 1970). Modern reprint edited by S. E. Lehmberg (London and New York, Everyman's Library, J. M. Dent & Sons: 1962). (Chapters 19 through 25 deal with dancing).


The chapters which discuss dancing are interesting, although not of direct use in reconstructing choreographies. No specific choreographies are given, nor is any music included. What is given, however, is information about how dances were done in England at this time. It is fairly clear that the dances were basically similar, if not identical to those which were done in France and Burgundy at this time. We can also glean some style information, so this source is more useful to those working on how the steps were performed than it is to those who are interested only in specific reconstructions.