Santucci's Mastro del Ballo (1614)


Welcome! This is the homepage of a volunteer effort to transcribe the handwritten Mastro da Ballo, an important dance manuscript dated 1614. The results of this project will be freely available to everyone.

What you'll need to do to help

A note about copyright

Most book transcription projects don't have to worry about copyright. In most places in the world, a copyright is created when you create original work, not when you do a lot of hard work mechanically copying something. In this case, we're transcribing hard-to-read handwriting, and it'll probably require some interpretation on everyone's part. I'd like the result to be freely usable by anyone for any purpose. So, if you participate in this project, I'd like you to either agree that (1) you aren't doing any original or creative work as part of this project, or (2) you're willing to license your work, for free, to anyone for any purpose.


The actual proofreading interface divides the screen and allows you to adjust the magnification of the image. In this example I have made the images pretty large so that you can see them well.

Example 1, from Part 1

This example starts at the top of the page, so it has a page number and page header which do not need to be typed.

Regola 7ma. de Passi longhi

[A`] far il Passo longo; trouandosi il sinistro in dietro in pas=
so naturale; come si uede nella figura, nel tempo d'una battu=
ta, lo spinger[a`] inanzi, et in tempo d'un altra battuta terna=
ria perfetta, lo inalborar[a`] inanzi al destro, e nel istesso
tempo lo posaria in derra, in passo naturale; e si chiama
cosi, perchi si fa in tempo di due battute, e lo potr[a`] anco
fare [p_] contrario.

Notes in this example:

Unusual markings like accents and underlined p's (which abbreviate "per") get typed as something special in square brackets: [a`] means a with an accent.

In the 3rd line of the rule, note the unusual way that z is written in "inanzi".

Example 2, from Part 2

Regola Prima, de Cinque Passi Ordinarij.

Trouandosi il pi[e`] sinistro in dietro, in passo naturale, so spingerai, e inal=
borarai inanzi, poi farai un Zoppetto, e ci[o`] fatto, lo spingerai un po=
co pi[u`] inanzi, p spatio[?] di quattro dita in cirea[?], e lo lassarai callar
in terra, in passo naturale, nel tempo d'una battuta ternaria ma=
giore; doppo col destro darai[?] un sottopiede al sinistro; et inalbor[a~]=
do d[?] sinistro inanzi, mezo palmo in circa, e lasciandolo callar in
terra alzarai nel istesso tempo il destro, e farai un passo in aria,
e lo inalborarai inanzi, e con d[?] destro farai una cadenza ord.ria.
e cosi potrai fare [p_] contrario; auertendo, chi quando dico cosi,
(Potrai fare [p_] contrario in[?]endo, chi si p[?]col fare dal altro piede[?]
quel, chi se [e`] fare con uno, auertendo anco di star con la persona
dritta, e con le gambe ben distese, col li piedi, chi le punte nel[?] siano
[?]roppi[?]o in dentro, n[e`] troppo in fiori, col le braccia ben distesse per

This example has a few more interesting markings: macrons, a squiggle above a vowel that means "insert an m or n after this vowel" are written as [a~]. Also note the interesting abbreviation of "ordinaria" at the end of the 8th line of the rule: "ord.", with "ria" elevated. I typed this as "ord.ria.". Finally, I marked a few things with [?] because I couldn't figure them out. This is a fine thing to do in Round 1 and 2.

Example 3, from Part 3

Nel secondo t[e~]po, col destro, chi a[?] trouara in[a~]zi, farai una Cam[-]
panella indietro et in[a~]zi et inalbor[a~]do il sinistro inanzi,
farai una Cad[e~]za, et un fioretto ordinario, e cosi potra fa[-]
re p contrario, cominciando d al primo tempo.

This example has a couple of missing hyphens at the ends of lines. These are written [-]. If you don't know enough Italian to spot these, don't worry.

OK, so how do I get started?

Go to the Project Gutenberg Distributed Proofreaders website and sign up for a new account. Take a quick glance at the "help" on the proofreading guidelines, but don't look too long, as this project only uses a subset of the proofing guidelines. Then go find this project on the proofreading list, and proofread away! Here's a direct link to the project.


If you need a look at some other transcribed books to get some vocabulary in your head, you can take a look at:

Gregory Blount of Isenfir