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Thoinot Arbeau: writer, collector, both?

Stower 20 Aug 09 - 02:31 PM
TheSnail 20 Aug 09 - 04:23 PM
GUEST,leeneia 20 Aug 09 - 10:13 PM
Valmai Goodyear 21 Aug 09 - 02:10 AM
GUEST,leeneia 21 Aug 09 - 11:35 PM
SteveMansfield 22 Aug 09 - 05:24 AM
SteveMansfield 22 Aug 09 - 05:27 AM
Tug the Cox 22 Aug 09 - 05:58 AM
Tootler 22 Aug 09 - 02:49 PM
GUEST,leeneia 22 Aug 09 - 10:39 PM
katlaughing 22 Aug 09 - 11:00 PM
SteveMansfield 23 Aug 09 - 08:17 AM
Bonnie Shaljean 23 Aug 09 - 09:25 AM
GUEST,leeneia 23 Aug 09 - 08:10 PM
Bonnie Shaljean 24 Aug 09 - 05:46 AM
GUEST,leeneia 24 Aug 09 - 08:46 AM
Bonnie Shaljean 24 Aug 09 - 09:25 AM
katlaughing 24 Aug 09 - 11:10 AM
Stower 25 Aug 09 - 08:22 AM
GUEST,leeneia 25 Aug 09 - 09:53 AM
Stower 25 Aug 09 - 11:09 AM
giles earle 25 Aug 09 - 11:26 AM
giles earle 25 Aug 09 - 11:27 AM
Stower 25 Aug 09 - 11:36 AM
giles earle 25 Aug 09 - 12:07 PM
giles earle 25 Aug 09 - 12:41 PM
GUEST,dana emery 30 Aug 10 - 08:36 PM
leeneia2 31 Aug 10 - 10:10 AM
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Subject: Thoinot Arbeau: writer, collector, both?
From: Stower
Date: 20 Aug 09 - 02:31 PM

I have recently arranged some branles from Thoinot Arbeau's Orchésographie (1589), a study of French Renaissance social dance. (This sort of thing.) I always like to know what I'm playing and, not reading French (or even 16th century French!), I cannot find out whether Arbeau was a collector of the music he included, or a composer, or a bit of both.

Do any dancers or musicians have any clues, please?


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Subject: RE: Thoinot Arbeau: writer, collector, both?
From: TheSnail
Date: 20 Aug 09 - 04:23 PM

Orchésographie is available in English ISBN 0-486-21745-0 but I can't immediately find anything that answers your question.


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Subject: RE: Thoinot Arbeau: writer, collector, both?
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 20 Aug 09 - 10:13 PM

Greetings, Stower. It's nice to meet a fellow lover of early music.

I have been interested in early music for a long time and have read about Arbeau in more than one source. I've never heard of him actually composing anything himself. His great interest was dance, and he included music of his time to go with the dances being described.


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Subject: RE: Thoinot Arbeau: writer, collector, both?
From: Valmai Goodyear
Date: 21 Aug 09 - 02:10 AM

Arbeau's dancing instructions are very amusing as they include a lot of asides about polite and impolite behaviour. They take the form of conversations between a dancing master and a pupil.

We had a splendid workshop a few years ago with Phil Humphries of the Mellstock Band on early music for folk musicians at the Lewes Saturday Folk Club . Highly recommended, as are the whole band.

Valmai (Lewes)


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Subject: RE: Thoinot Arbeau: writer, collector, both?
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 21 Aug 09 - 11:35 PM

That Mellstock Band looks pretty cool. Is that a serpent over the one gent's shoulder? I recall encountering the serpent in a Thomas Hardy novel, but I've never heard one.

I do feel that a couple members of the band could do with a haircut. There comes a time in each person's life when s/he should give up 1)shorts and 2)long hair.

But that's trivial. They have accomplished a lot to bring rural music alive, between the books and the CD.


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Subject: RE: Thoinot Arbeau: writer, collector, both?
From: SteveMansfield
Date: 22 Aug 09 - 05:24 AM

He was predominantly a collector, or more properly what a later generation would call a Dancing Master: to quote the preface [by Mary Stewart Evans]of my 1967 Dover Publications edition ...

Laure Fonta, in her informed preface to the reprint of the Orchesography, published in Paris in 1888, suggests that Arbeau was animated to undertake this work, at the ripe age of sixty-nine, by the re-introduction of religious dances into the Church in France. It seems equally probable that the great wave of enthusiam for masquerades and dancing, which swept France in the wake of the Ballet Comique de la Reine, aroused in Arbeau an old love.

The text makes it plain that many of the dances were old and considered outdated by the time Arbeau notated them, and the whole book is as much a vignette of late C16th French courtly life as it is a dance tutor. It's a good read, much more of a reasonable modern read than other contemperaneous 'educational dialogues' (for example Thomas Morley's 'Plain and Practical Guide to Music' of 1599 is chock-full of absolutely fascinating musical detail but is a pretty dry read by comparison to Orchesography).

Thoinot Arbeau was an anagram of the author's real name, Jehan Tabourot, who lived 'At The Sign Of The Crumhorn': the fine Renaissance instrument maker Eric Moulder has adopted that as his address, and the mildly humorous discussions at the back of 'Early Music Today' magazine also take place at that address.

A while back I transcribed all of the Orchesography music into abc notation, which can be had from

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Subject: RE: Thoinot Arbeau: writer, collector, both?
From: SteveMansfield
Date: 22 Aug 09 - 05:27 AM

Ah, early-Saturday-morning gremlins - the address for the abc file is http://www.lesession.co.uk/music/Orchesography.abc.


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Subject: RE: Thoinot Arbeau: writer, collector, both?
From: Tug the Cox
Date: 22 Aug 09 - 05:58 AM

Thoinot Arbeau is the anagrammatic pen name of French cleric Jehan Tabourot (March 17, 1519, Dijon - July 23, 1595, Langres). Tabourot is most famous for his Orchésographie, a study of late sixteenth-century French Renaissance social dance.

The manual provides critical information on social ballroom behaviour and on the interaction of musicians and dancers.


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Subject: RE: Thoinot Arbeau: writer, collector, both?
From: Tootler
Date: 22 Aug 09 - 02:49 PM

There are some excellent tunes in Orchésographie. I particularly like Pavane "Belle qui tiens ma vie" it is lovely stately tune. It is one of the few tunes in Arbeau which is in parts and sounds great played by SATB recorders.

Peter Warlock's Capriol Suite is based on tunes from Orchésographie, Capriol was the name of the pupil in the book.

I came across an English Language copy in the Early Music shop in Bradford a few years ago and nearly bought it. I wish now I had as I haven't seen it there since.


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Subject: RE: Thoinot Arbeau: writer, collector, both?
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 22 Aug 09 - 10:39 PM

Hi, Tootler. "Belle qui tiens ma vie" is indeed lovely.

I was taking a recorder workshop once, and the time came to choose a song for the student recital. There was considerable discussion, but I grew impatient and said, "This is taking too long. Why don't we each hold up the song that we wish for in our hearts."

Ninety percent of the class held up that song.
========
sfmans, thanks for the link. I'm going to check out your site.


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Subject: RE: Thoinot Arbeau: writer, collector, both?
From: katlaughing
Date: 22 Aug 09 - 11:00 PM

I love early music and am following this along, learning SO much. Thanks, all!


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Subject: RE: Thoinot Arbeau: writer, collector, both?
From: SteveMansfield
Date: 23 Aug 09 - 08:17 AM

I came across an English Language copy in the Early Music shop in Bradford a few years ago and nearly bought it. I wish now I had as I haven't seen it there since.

The 1967 Dover edition is still reasonably easy to pick up second-hand on t'Internet by the looks of things, ISBN 0486217451 (13-digit version 978-0486217451). Just putting the ISBN into Google shows a whole bunch of purchasing options.


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Subject: RE: Thoinot Arbeau: writer, collector, both?
From: Bonnie Shaljean
Date: 23 Aug 09 - 09:25 AM

You can get the dots to Belle qui tiens ma vie and also hear it here:

http://homepages.luc.edu/~avande1/belle-qui/belle-qui-tiens-ma-vie.htm#ref1


The Library of Congress has put the original volume online. The pavane is here:

http://memory.loc.gov/cgi-bin/ampage?collId=musdi&fileName=219/musdi219.db&recNu


You can flip through the whole book by just typing the page number in, and download the tunes as TIFF files, if you don't mind reading alto clef.


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Subject: RE: Thoinot Arbeau: writer, collector, both?
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 23 Aug 09 - 08:10 PM

Well, kat, this is gratifying. I didn't know you were in the inner golden circle of early-music lovers.

Bonnie, I think there's a mistake in the MS (your first link). There should be a sharp on the F in the third-to-last measure.

Someday I would like to learn to read the old notation, as shown in your second link. I tried playing various lines but didn't crack the code.

Thanks for the links, though.

Recently I started a thread titled 'Reutterliedlein.' It gives an example of what I like to do with early music. The tune is the kind of thing I play monthly with my friends.


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Subject: RE: Thoinot Arbeau: writer, collector, both?
From: Bonnie Shaljean
Date: 24 Aug 09 - 05:46 AM

Hi Leeneia -

Nope, that F natural is actually correct (you'll hear it if you click their audio link at the top). You find a lot of that kind of thing in van Eyck and Susato too, a tonality which is really of that age. That note can certainly be played as an F# but I like the slight surprise of the flattened-then-raised tone, and it is in period. You'll see the same natural-to-sharp relationship in that passage in the original score too, twice (it's in the repeat as well). The tune was probably already old when Arbeau noted it down.

Regarding the second link, for the melody you play only the Superius line, which means the tune goes over several pages. In the original score (which is actually in soprano clef: I was looking at the wrong line) if you think of the key as being B minor in the dorian mode (i.e. the key signature of A with its three sharps) you can just play it as normal. In another part of the music, I see that the leading tone is natural the first time the phrase appears, but raised in the repeat. This sort of thing often happens in early music, and I have heard it performed both ways - with A natural followed by A sharp, and also with A sharp both times (which I tend to prefer, but maybe that's just because we're all accustomed to modern tonality).


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Subject: RE: Thoinot Arbeau: writer, collector, both?
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 24 Aug 09 - 08:46 AM

Thank you for explanation, Bonnie.

This song occurred on the first piece of early music I ever encountered - the RCA 'pink album,' whose actual title I've forgotten. The pink album has quite a few old favorites.

One of them, the Hoboken Tanz, comes from Arbeau, I think.


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Subject: RE: Thoinot Arbeau: writer, collector, both?
From: Bonnie Shaljean
Date: 24 Aug 09 - 09:25 AM

I had that record* too, a real beauty. Was it by David Munrow? Can't remember now, but if I ever ever manage to burn my old LPs onto CD (now that CDs are going the way of the dinosaur) that album is first on the list.


*Do you mean the one with a series of woodcuts, or perhaps only one woodcut, on the cover?


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Subject: RE: Thoinot Arbeau: writer, collector, both?
From: katlaughing
Date: 24 Aug 09 - 11:10 AM

Great links, Bonnie, thanks!

Yes, leeneia, I DO love this music. I was in Boulder, CO in the early 80s visiting my brother when he played a new LP for me and I knew I had to have my own copy. I don't have it handy, right now, so cannot tell you the name, but it's always been one of my favourites.

Great thread!


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Subject: RE: Thoinot Arbeau: writer, collector, both?
From: Stower
Date: 25 Aug 09 - 08:22 AM

Thanks, all. I have been away (and had a sick computer, now fixed) and didn't really expect any response, so I am delighted. My initial question was, should these tunes in Orchésographie be credited as 'traditional' or 'Thoinot Arbeau / Jehan Tabourot', or a mixture of the two? Mulling and reseaching in the meantime, I don't think there is any evidence at all that Tabourot was a composer, but rather a collector and instructor of music and dance because he thought there was a social good to be gained by so doing, rather like a small scale French Renaissance Cecil Sharp, if I can put it that way.

Re: sharps and naturals in the discussion above, it's interesting to see how Arbeau originally notated the now very popular Horse's Brawl, seen here and the following 2 pages in its original publication. It sounds odd to modern ears in its original with not an f# in sight!

Thanks, all.


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Subject: RE: Thoinot Arbeau: writer, collector, both?
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 25 Aug 09 - 09:53 AM

It's hard to say, because it has an alto clef sign, but it's not in the usual place. What were they trying to convey?


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Subject: RE: Thoinot Arbeau: writer, collector, both?
From: Stower
Date: 25 Aug 09 - 11:09 AM

Leeneia, I hadn't spotted that - obvious really, and silly me. From the odd position of the clef, it's not at all clear to me where middle C is! Can anyone - a music historian - help?


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Subject: RE: Thoinot Arbeau: writer, collector, both?
From: giles earle
Date: 25 Aug 09 - 11:26 AM

Arbeau notes here and there that he's only giving examples of dance-tunes, and it's pretty noticeable that he often doesn't complete a tune, merely giving enough to demonstrate the steps (e.g. the Branle de Poitou). Also, I understand that the Basse-Dance was already old-fashioned by the time he published his book.

Seems entirely reasonable to assume not only that the tunes are not of his own composition, and also that he may well deliberately (and sensibly) have used well-known tunes to illustrate the basic steps of the dances.

Have you come across the old Broadside Band recording from the 1980s, with realisations of all the tunes? Now re-released on CD (along with a few not-at-all-French dances from Playford!) as 'Danses Populairs Francaise'.


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Subject: RE: Thoinot Arbeau: writer, collector, both?
From: giles earle
Date: 25 Aug 09 - 11:27 AM

The Horse's Brawl starts on a G, as you had assumed. And you may therefore want to add ficta F# to make it sound 'right' to you. Nothing wrong in doing so...


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Subject: RE: Thoinot Arbeau: writer, collector, both?
From: Stower
Date: 25 Aug 09 - 11:36 AM

If one looks at this page in the original (any other page with music will do as well), we see that sharps and flats in a key signature are in the correct place for a treble clef, so I can only assume that what looks like an oddly placed alto celf is just an old way of writing a treble clef (please anyone correct me if you know otherwise).

I've been playing Branle des chevauux without the f#. After a few plays - to get the modern way out of my head so I stop comparing - it sounds good. I think this comment will make me appear to be a pinhead, but somehow the f natural makes it sound 'more French' - by which I mean in keeping to my ear with other French tunes of the time - though I cannot justify that comment musicologically.


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Subject: RE: Thoinot Arbeau: writer, collector, both?
From: giles earle
Date: 25 Aug 09 - 12:07 PM

Yes, looking at the key signature is a good and efficient way to make sure of your key-note! Also have a look where the clef centres: "Belle qui tiens ma vie" is a good one to try this out on, as you have four lines to look at (the SATB lines start on G, C Bb and G). In the case of Les Bouffons it's a straightforward G-clef i.e. the common-or-garden treble clef, with the tune starting on an F.

If you're happy with the F naturals in Branle des Chevaux, well done! VERY rough rule of thumb is that sharpened leading notes crept into later music, i.e. F natural is in a sense 'earlier' than F#. (Don't take that as any sort of hard and fast rule, though, as it certainly isn't!)

With a foot in both 'folk' and 'art' camps, I find it fascinating that the difference between accidentals is much smaller in folk than art music. Many a folksinger have I heard treat a major or minor third (say) as colouring only, whereas in art-song one is quite often be required to make the difference crystal-clear, perhaps with emphasis and certainly with micro-tuning (the major extra-high, and the minor pushed right down into the note).


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Subject: RE: Thoinot Arbeau: writer, collector, both?
From: giles earle
Date: 25 Aug 09 - 12:41 PM

Oops, sorry, I should have typed SATB = G D Bb G in "Belle qui tiens". Fingers and brain both half asleep.


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Subject: RE: Thoinot Arbeau: writer, collector, both?
From: GUEST,dana emery
Date: 30 Aug 10 - 08:36 PM

Hoboekentanz is from the 1551 Susato Danserye, not Arbeau.

Lovely melancholic piece. London Pro Musica LPM 101 is a modern edition providing both score and parts widely stocked by your local corner purveyor of early music; lots mpre excellent music in it as well.

Music of the Renaissance was generally written in a minimal form, the performer was expected to demonstrate artful elaboration as well as resolve the musica ficta. 15c and earlier Composition considered the horizontal flows of notes in each part as well as the chords made at section ends. 16c saw more common use of 4vv and larger forces, and probably found it easier to work vertically; but this was a time of transition, both in composition and notation.

See the numerous works and articles on performance practice of the renaissance for details, in particular Willi Apel, _The Notation of Polyphonic Music 900-1600_; _Groves New Dictionary of Music and Musicians_ 'Notation', 'Performance Practice', 'Musica Ficta'.

Originally the clef-symbol was simply a letter for the reference pitch, in theory any of - a,b,c,d,e,f,g. Scribes gave the symbol a more stylized rendition over centuries of use, and only certain letters proved necessary in common music - g,c,f were the most seen and survive today. A gamma-ut clef is rare, but became useful in late 15c with certain works of Tinctoris, Ogekhem, et al which explored the use of the basso-profundo range.


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Subject: RE: Thoinot Arbeau: writer, collector, both?
From: leeneia2
Date: 31 Aug 10 - 10:10 AM

Oops! guess I erred on the Hoboekentanz. But if I encouraged anybody to pick up an instrument and try to play it, it was all to the good.


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