Saturday, January 6, 8170

French (b. c. 1170) - Royal Estampies (c. 1200)

Dance (from French danser, perhaps from Frankish) generally refers to movement of the body, usually rhythmic and to music, used as a form of expression, social interaction or presented in a spiritual or performance setting. Dance is also used to describe methods of non-verbal communication (see body language) between humans or animals (bee dance, patterns of behaviour such as a mating dance), motion in inanimate objects (the leaves danced in the wind), and certain musical forms or genres.

Definitions of what constitutes dance are dependent on social, cultural, aesthetic, artistic and moral constraints and range from functional movement (such as folk dance) to virtuoso techniques such as ballet. Dance can be participatory, social or performed for an audience. It can also be ceremonial, competitive or erotic. Dance movements may be without significance in themselves, such as in ballet or European folk dance, or have a gestural vocabulary/symbolic system as in many Asian dances. Dance can embody or express ideas, emotions or tell a story.
Dancing has evolved many styles.

Choreography is the art of creating dances, and the person who does this is called a choreographer.

France (b. c. 1170) - Danse Real (c. 1200) (Bagpipes)

Bagpipes are a class of musical instrument, aerophones using enclosed reeds fed from a constant reservoir of air in the form of a bag. Though the Scottish Great Highland Bagpipe and Irish uilleann pipes have the greatest international visibility, bagpipes have historically been found throughout Europe, and into Northern Africa, the Persian Gulf, and the Caucasus.

The term is equally correct in the singular or plural, although in the English language pipers most commonly talk of "pipes" and "the bagpipe."

A bagpipe minimally consists on an air supply, a bag, a chanter, and usually a drone. Some bagpipes also have additional drones (and sometimes chanters) in various combinations, held in place in stocks -- connectors with which the various pipes are attached to the bag.
[edit]Air supply

The most common method of supplying air to the bag is by blowing into a blowpipe, or blowstick. In some pipes the player must cover the tip of the blowpipe with his tongue while inhaling, but modern blowpipes are usually fitted with a non-return valve which eliminates this need.

The bag is simply an airtight (or nearly airtight) reservoir which can hold air and regulate its flow while the player breathes or pumps with a bellows, enabling the player to maintain continuous sound for some time. Materials used for bags vary widely, but the most common are the skins of local animals such as goats, sheep, and cows. More recently, pipers have started to use bags made of synthetic materials including Gore-Tex; synthetic bags are the most common.

Bags cut from larger materials are usually saddle-stitched with an extra strip folded over the seam and stitched (for skin bags) or glued (for synthetic bags) to reduce leaks. Holes are cut to accommodate the stocks. In the case of bags made from largely-intact animal skins the stocks are typically tied into the points where limbs and the head joined the body of the living animal, a construction technique common in Central and Eastern Europe.

The chanter is the melody pipe, played by one or two hands. A chanter can be bored internally so that the inside walls are parallel for its full length, or it can be bored in the shape of a cone. Additionally, the reed can be a single or a double reed. Single-reeded chanters must be parallel-bored; however, both conical- and parallel-bored chanters operate with double reeds, and double reeds are by far the more common.

The chanter is usually open-ended; thus, there is no easy way for the player to stop the pipe from sounding. This means that most bagpipes share a legato sound where there are no rests in the music. Primarily because of this inability to stop playing, grace notes (which vary between types of bagpipe) are used to break up notes and to create the illusion of articulation and accents. Because of their importance, these embellishments (or ornaments) are often highly technical systems specific to each bagpipe, and take much study to master.

A few bagpipes (the musette de cour, the uilleann pipes, and the Northumbrian smallpipe) have closed ends or stop the end on the player's leg, so that when the player covers all the holes (known as closing the chanter) it becomes silent. A thick leather leg strap, known as a "Pipers Apron" is used for this purpose. This allows for staccato playing on these instruments, although even where the chanter can be silenced, complex embellishment systems often exist. Momentarilly silencing the open end of the Uilleann pipe chanter on the "Apron," alongside an increase in pressure on the bag, allows the melody pipe to sound the next register. This is not done on other forms of bagpipes.

Although the majority of chanters are unkeyed, some make extensive use of keys to extend the range and/or the number of accidentals the chanter can play. It is possible to produce chanters with two bores and two holes for each note. The double chanters have a full loud sound comparable to the "wet" sound produced by an accordion. One ancient form of twin bore, single reed pipe is the "Scottish Stock and Horn" spoken of by Robert Burns.

An unusual kind of chanter is the regulator of the uilleann pipes. This chanter is in addition to the main melody chanter and plays a limited number of notes, operated by the ends of the palms pressing down the keys. It is fitted in the stock for the drones and laid across the knees, allowing the player to produce a limited but effective chordal accompaniment.

A final variant of the chanter is the two-piped chanter (confusingly also usually called a double chanter). Two separate chanters are designed to be played, one with each hand. When they are played, one chanter may provide a drone accompaniment to the other, or the two chanters may play in a harmony of thirds and sixths (as in the southern Italian zampogna), or the two chanters may be played in unison (as in most Arabic bagpipes). Another form is called a "Magdeburg Pipe/Schaper Pfeiff", found in the plates of the "Syntagma Musicum of 1619" by Michael Preatorius.

Because of the accompanying drone(s), the lack of modulation in bagpipe melody, and stable timbre of the reed sound, in many bagpipe traditions the tones of the chanter are appropriately tuned using just intonation.

Most bagpipes have at least one drone. A drone is most commonly a cylindrical tube with a single reed, although drones with double reeds exist. The drone is generally designed in two or more parts, with a sliding joint ("bridle") so that the pitch of the drone can be manipulated. Drones are traditionally made of wood, often a local hardwood, but nowadays often from tropical hardwoods such as rosewood, ebony, or African Blackwood. Some modern variants of the pipes have brass or plastic drones.

Depending on the type of pipe, the drones may lay over the shoulder, across the arm opposite the bag, or may run parallel to the chanter. Some drones have a tuning screw, which effectively alters the length of the drone by opening a hole, allowing the drone to be tuned to two or more distinct pitches. The tuning screw may also shut off the drone altogether. In general, where there is one drone it is pitched two octaves below the tonic of the chanter, and further additions often add the octave below and then a drone consonant with the fifth of the chanter. This is, however, a very approximate rule of thumb. In the Uilleann pipes, there are three drones (which can be switched off via a switch); these are tuned as follows, Tenor (shortest) plays the same note as the bottom of the chanter, Baritone (middle length) is tuned an octave below and the bass (longest) is tuned two octaves below. There are some indications that there may have been cases of a fourth drone, shorter than the tenor, which played a perfect 5th - e.g. on a "d" set of pipes (the bottom note is 'd') the normal three drones play a 'd' and this 'extra' drone would play 'g'.

Evidence of pre-medieval bagpipes is controversial, but several textual and visual clues may possibly indicate ancient forms of bagpipes. The earliest known representation of a bagpipe is as part of a Corsican bronze figurine.

A possible representation of a bagpipe has been found on a Hittite slab dating from about 1,300 BC at Eyuk. Similarly, a possible textual reference to a bagpipe is found in 425 BC, in the play The Acharnians by the Greek playwright Aristophanes:

“ A BOEOTIAN: By Heracles! my shoulder is quite black and blue. Ismenias, put the penny-royal down there very gently, and all of you, musicians from Thebes, pipe with your bone flutes into a dog's rump.” [!]

Several hundred years later, Suetonius described the Roman Emperor Nero as a player of the tibia utricularis.

Dio Chrysostom, who also flourished in the first century, wrote about a contemporary sovereign (possibly Nero) who could play a pipe ("aulein") with his mouth as well as with his "armpit".

From this account, some believe that the tibia utricularis was a bagpipe.

[A detail from the Cantigas de Santa Maria showing bagpipes with one chanter and a parallel drone (13th Century)]

In the early part of the second millennium, bagpipes began to appear with frequency in European art and iconography. The Cantigas de Santa Maria (Galician verses compiled in Castile in the mid-13th Century) depict several types of bagpipes.

[Geoffery Chaucer (1343-1400) - Canterbury Tales (1380)]

Though evidence of bagpipes in the British Isles prior to the 14th Century is contested, bagpipes are explicitly mentioned in The Canterbury Tales (written around 1380): "A baggepype wel coude he blowe and sowne, /And ther-with-al he broghte us out of towne."

Actual examples of bagpipes from before the 18th century are extremely rare; however, a substantial number of paintings, carvings, engravings, manuscript illuminations, and so on survive. They make it clear that bagpipes varied hugely throughout Europe, and even within individual regions. Many examples of early folk bagpipes in Continental Europe can be found in the paintings of

Hieronymous Bosch (c. 1450-1516)

Albrecht Durer (1471-1528), and Peter Brueghel (1525-1569).

[Peasant Wedding Dance]

[Peasant Wedding Feast]

In English-speaking regions, a bagpipe player is known as a "bagpiper" or "piper," and the surname Piper derives from the latter term. Other European surnames, such as Pfeiffer or Pfeifer (German), Gaiteiro (Portuguese-Galician), Gaiteru (Asturian), Gaitero (Spanish), Dudák or Gajdar (Czech), Dudás, Sipos, or Gajdos (Hungarian), Zampognaro (Italian), Tsambounieris (Greek), Gaidar (Bulgarian: Гайдар; derivated from Гайда, Gayda - bagpipe), Gaidar (Russian), Duda, and Dudziak (Polish)[4] may also signify that an ancestor was a player of the pipes.

One of the main purposes of the bagpipe in most traditions was to provide music for dancing. In most countries this has declined with the growth of professional dance bands, recordings, and the decline of traditional dance. In turn, this has led to many types of pipes developing a performance-led tradition, and indeed much modern music based on the dance music tradition played on bagpipes is no longer suitable for use as dance music.

Danse Royale [No. 1] (1200)

(David Munrow, Music of the Crusades [Shawm, Tabor])

(Dufay Collective)

The shawm was a Medieval and Renaissance musical instrument of the woodwind family made in Europe from the 13th century until the 17th century. It was developed from the oriental zurna and is the predecessor of the modern oboe. The body of the shawm was usually turned from a single piece of wood, and terminated in a flared bell somewhat like that of a trumpet. Beginning in the 16th century, shawms were made in several sizes, from sopranino to great bass, and four and five-part music could be played by a consort consisting entirely of shawms. All later shawms had at least one key allowing a downward extension of the compass; the keywork was typically covered by a perforated wooden cover called the fontanelle. The bassoon-like double reed, made from the same Arundo donax cane used for oboes and bassoons, was inserted directly into a socket at the top of the instrument, or in the larger types, on the end of a metal tube called the bocal. The pirouette, a small cylindrical piece of wood with a hole in the middle resembling a thimble, was placed over the reed—this acted as a support for the lips and embouchure. Since only a short portion of the reed protruded past the pirouette, the player had only limited contact with the reed, and therefore limited control of dynamics. The shawm’s conical bore and flaring bell, combined with the style of playing dictated by the use of a pirouette, gave the instrument a piercing, trumpet-like sound well-suited for out-of-doors performance.

The Catalan shawm is a modernized variant still used in Catalonia, to accompany the Catalonian Sardana circle dance.

In German the shawm is called Schalmei or Pommer; the first word is believed to derive from the Latin calamus, meaning reed or stalk. However, it is also possible that the name comes from the Arabic salamiya or salameya, a traditional oboe from Egypt, as the European shawm seems to have been developed from similar instruments brought to Europe from the Near East during the time of the Crusades. This is borne out by the very similar names of many folk shawms used as traditional instruments in various European nations, such as the Spanish dulzaina (also known as chirimía), the Catalan shawms (xirimia, dolçaina or gralla, tible, tenora), the Portuguese charamela, and the Italian ciaramella.

Instruments resembling the medieval shawm can still be heard in many countries today, played by street musicians or military bands. The latter use would have been familiar to crusaders, who often had to face massed bands of Saracen shawms and nakers, used as a psychological weapon. It must have had a profound effect, as the shawm was quickly adopted by Europeans, for dancing as well as for military purposes.

The shawm inspired the later 17th-century hautbois, an invention of the French musician Martin Hotteterre (d.1712). He is credited with devising essentially a brand-new instrument, one which borrowed several features from the shawm, chiefly its double reed and conical bore, but departed from it significantly in other respects, the most important departure being the fact the player places his lips directly on the reed with no intervening pirouette. Around 1670, the new French hautbois began replacing the shawm in military bands, concert music and opera; by 1700, the shawm had all but disappeared from concert life, although as late as 1830 shawms could still be heard in German town bands performing their municipal functions. Curiously, the Germans and Dutch continued to manufacture an ornate version of the shawm, called deutsche Schalmey, well after the introduction of the French hautbois. Several examples of this instrument survive in European collections, although its exact musical use is unclear.

Danse Royale [No. 2] (1200) (Vielle)

(Florilegium Musicum, Music at the Time of the Crusades)

The vielle is a European bowed stringed instrument used in the Medieval period, similar to a modern violin but with a somewhat longer and deeper body, five (rather than four) gut strings, and a leaf-shaped pegbox with frontal tuning pegs. The instrument was also known as a fidel or a viuola, although the French name for the instrument, vielle, is generally used. It was one of the most popular instruments of the Medieval period, and was used by troubadours and jongleurs from the 1200's through the 1400's.


The Manuscrit du Roi (Manuscript of the King) (c. 1200-1250), by an anonymous French author, contains songs by trouveres, and 11 dances -- eight Royal Estampies, Danse Real, Danse, and an untitled piece. The estampies are numbered from two to eight, with what is probably number one (speculatively entitled La Prime) in fragment form. The notation, probably conceived as in various rhythmic modes, is open to varied interpretations.

[La Prime Estampie Royal] - Dufay Collective)

La Seconde Estampie Royal

(Roger Kamien - Flute)

(Dufay Collective)

La Tierche Estampie Roial [sic]

(David Munrow - Rebecs, Lute, Tabor)

(Dufay Collective)


The rebec (sometimes rebeck, and originally various other spellings) is a bowed string musical instrument. In its most common form, it has three strings and is played on the arm or under the chin, like a violin.

The rebec dates back to the Middle Ages and was particularly popular in the 15th and 16th centuries. The instrument is European, but probably developed from the arabo-islamic instrument, the rebab. The rebec was first referred to by name around the beginning of the 1300's century, although instruments very similar to it had been played since around the 900's.

The number of strings on the rebec varies from one to five, although three is the most common number. The strings are often tuned in fifths, although this tuning is by no means universal. The instrument was originally in the treble range, like the violin, but later larger versions were developed, such that by the 16th century composers were able to write pieces for consorts of rebecs, just as they did for consorts of viols.

In time, the viol came to replace the rebec, and the instrument was little used beyond the Renaissance. The rebec did remain in use by dance masters until the 18th century, however, often being used for the same purpose as the kit, a small pocket-sized violin. The rebec also continued to be used in folk music, especially in eastern Europe and Spain. Andalusi nubah, a genre of music from North Africa, often includes the rebec.

The original Michael Nyman Band included a rebec before the band switched to a fully amplified lineup.


La Quinte Estampie Real

(David Munrow - Shawm, Nakers)

(Dufay Collective)


A naker or nakir is a small drum, of Arabic origin, and the forebear of the European timpani (kettledrum).

The nakers were imported into Europe during the Crusades of the 1200's.

Nakers consist of metal or wood dome-shaped bodies with goatskin drumheads, with or without snares, and are played by striking them with the hands or with sticks. They are typically played in pairs, often in a sling or harness.


La Sexte Estampie Real


(Florilegium Musicum, Pressure Drum)


Talking drums are part of a family of hourglass-shaped pressure drums. The drum heads at either end of the drum's wooden body are made from hide, fish-skin or other membranes which are wrapped around a wooden hoop. Leather cords or thongs run the length of the drum's body and are wrapped around both hoops; when these cords are squeezed under the drummers arm, the drum heads tighten, changing the instrument's pitch. While this type of instrument can be modulated quite closely, its range is limited to a gathering or market-place, and it is primarily used in ceremonial settings. Ceremonial functions could include dance, rituals, story-telling and communication of points of order.

Some of the variations of the talking drum among West African ethnic groups:

Tama (Wolof of Senegal)
Gan gan, Dun Dun (Yoruba of Nigeria)
Dondo (Ashanti of central Ghana)
Lunna (Dagomba of northern Ghana)
Kalangu (Hausa of northern Nigeria and Niger)
In the 20th century the talking drums have become a part of popular music in West Africa, especially in the music genres of Jùjú (Nigeria) and Mbalax (Senegal).

While talking drums are generally considered an African phenomenon, in Euskalerria, the Basque Country (part of Spain), the Txalaparta was used a communication medium. The Txalaparta (the "tx" is pronounced "ch") is a percussion instrument, made with a set of wooden planks, leaning over logs. The txalaparta is then hit with 50-cm sticks called "makilak." Like a xylophone, according to where it is hit, a different tone is sounded. Due to the advancing of telephones and other media, txalaparta is no longer in use as a communication medium, but is still used as a musical instrument.


La Septima Estampie Real

(David Munrow - Rebec, Citole, Tromba Marina, Nakers)

La Uitime Estampie Real

(David Munrow - Rebec, Tabor)

(Dufay Collective)


The estampie (also estampida, istampitta, istanpitta and stampita) is both a medieval dance and musical form.

The estampie is an important form of instrumental music of the 12th, 13th, and 14th centuries. It consists of four to seven sections, called puncta, each of which is repeated, in the form
aa, bb, cc, etc..

Different endings (ouvert (open) and clos (closed)) are provided for the first and second statement of each punctum, so that the structure can be

a+x, a+y; b+w, b+z; etc..

Sometimes the same two endings are used for all the puncta, producing the structure
a+x, a+y; b+x, b+y, c+x, c+y, etc..

A similar structure was shared with the saltarello, another medieval dance.

The earliest reported example of this musical form is the song "Kalenda Maya", supposedly written by the troubadour Raimbaut de Vaqueiras (1180-1207) to the melody of an estampida played by French jongleurs. All other known examples are purely instrumental pieces.

Though the estampie is generally monophonic, examples of two-voice compositions in the form of an estampie are also reported.

The idealized dance character of all these pieces suggests that the estampie originally was a true dance. There are no surviving dance manuals describing the estampie as a dance. Illuminations and paintings from the period seem to indicate that the estampie involves fairly vigorous hopping. Some estampies, such as the famous Tre fontane ("Three Fountains") estampie, contain florid and virtuosic instrumental writing; they may have been intended as abstract performance music rather than actual dance music.

The etymology of the name is disputed; an alternative name of the dance is stantipes, which suggests that one foot was stationary during the dance; but the more widely accepted etymology relates it to estamper, to stamp the feet -- i.e. a "stomp dance."


Ductia is a one or two-part French medieval dance of the 12th and 13th centuries, mainly performed by women.

Johannes de Grocheio (Fr. Jean de Grouchy!) writes about Ductias in his treatise De musica (c. 1350).

Ductia (Two-Voiced) (1200)



(Bombards et Binious)

The bombarde, or bombard (in Breton) is a folk musical instrument from Brittany and Cornwall that is a cross between an oboe and a conical-bored pipe chanter (the part of the bagpipe upon which the player creates the melody). The bombarde is blown by the mouth; the reed is held between the lips. Typically pitched in B flat, it plays a diatonic scale over two octaves.

Producing a very strident and powerful tone, the bombarde is most commonly heard today in bagads, the Breton version of the pipe bands. Traditionally it was used in a duet with the binioù for Breton folk dancing.

The bombarde requires so much breath that a bombard player (talabarder) can rarely play for long periods. This suits Breton music, where there is often a solo line which is then echoed by a chorus: the bombarde plays the solo line and then the player recovers while the other instruments play the echo.

The bombarde is also a traditional instrument in Cornish folk music. However its use in Cornish music today is much less widespread than in Breton music.

The name "Bombarde" is also used for a powerful reed stop in Pipe Organs, often set to be played by the pedals and usually at 16' pitch, or at 32' pitch as a Contra Bombarde (French: Contre Bombarde) and occasionally at 8′ pitch. Sometimes organs also have entire divisions of powerful reed stops called "Bombarde," controlled by its own manual.

[8170 Muset / 8170 Royal Estampies / 8170 English Dance]