westdance: Thoughts on 15c Italian for KWDS?

Greg Lindahl lindahl at pbm.com
Tue May 8 15:52:32 PDT 2007

On Tue, May 08, 2007 at 01:54:13PM -0700, Matthew Larsen wrote:

> Yes...  but while we have more current descriptions of pivas and
> saltarellos than of estampi steps, it's not like we have descriptions
> that give the kind of detail that you get for galliard steps in the
> later sources.

Why do you think that the saltarello *step* in the improvised
saltarello is anything other than the saltarello step? That's what the
sources pretty plainly would lead you to conclude.

Yes, we have hundreds of galliard steps, but the galliard is a dance
in which you do many kinds of step. There's no hint that the
saltarello is like that.

It's the pattern you make on the floor that we don't know, in either
case. In the galliard case you can look at choreographed galliards for
clues, but those are choreographed ones, of course. There are some
similar clues for figures you do in choreographed 15c piva and
saltarello sections of balli. (Rostibolia doesn't have figures for the
saltarello section, but there are others that do, and Smith has
provided a lovely way to look for them. That's the major thing that
is missing from Judith's article on the matter.)

In short, there's a wealth of information in both cases compared to
the lack of information for the estampie. The galliard may have a bit
more evidence, but the estampie has nearly nothing.

> Even with Pavans, we at least have Arbeau's discussion of several
> things you can do,

That's what I call a "vague idea", since he only describes moving
forward and a conversion for turning around. And for the Almain you
have that kissing game, again only a "vague idea".

> With Almans, we have a number of complete choreographies,

The complete choreograhpies are from England. By "improvised Alman" I
meant the thing described by Arbeau. I wouldn't mush the two together.

> Sorry for getting all stuffy purist on your parade, Greg.  I wish I
> had an answer I liked. :-(

The only thing that bothers me is equating our complete lack of
knowledge of the estampie to the reasonably good evidence of 15c
Italian dances. That's making perfection the enemy of the good.

-- Gregory

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