Dancing is my main passion in the SCA. I teach dance every week, and keep track of what we do as a blog on this site. I also have a separate dance website, with some of my reconstructions, translations and related material. I'm no longer updating my old website: the majority of the content is replicated on the new one.
Below are assorted odds and ends - things I haven't done enough of, or in an organised enough fashion, to warrant their own website, but which might be of interest to others nevertheless:
- Instructions for sizing the shirt; how to adapt for a man or woman
Cutting layouts (how to lay out the pattern pieces for efficient use of your cloth) for:
- a small-medium woman (2.5m of 110cm wide linen, sized for a woman 166cm tall, 100cm bust)
- a small man (2m of 110 cm wide linen; sized for me - see above)
- a larger woman - useful if your fabric is narrower than 110cm or you are more than ~110 cm around the chest/bust
The first pattern (for the small-medium woman) has the most detail, and has a diagram of how the pieces go together.
This is the pattern for the dance slippers I use for practice and performance.
It's designed to allow me to quickly produce slippers that are comfortable to dance in and an appropriate shape for the late-sixteenth century, using light-weight leather and a domestic sewing machine. I don't use accurate construction techniques for the period; nor is the pattern entirely accurate.
Made in sufficiently flexible leather, I've found these to fit adequately on several people (Katherina Weyssin, William de Cameron and Anna de Wilde).
[I usually wear woman's size 9 shoes (as sold in New Zealand); my foot is 25cm/10" long.]
I've recently developed an interest in bobbin-lace. Below are some of the things I've written about lace for this website.
- Making bobbin-lace with cheap tools
- Sampler - a first piece for someone wanting to learn renaissance bobbin lace
- Silk thread colours - who has what locally
- Resources for renaissance bobbin lace - facsimiles of books, museums with good images
I'm generating quite a few lace patterns (prickings), based on extact laces or renaissance pattern books, so they're collected on their own page. Some have detailed instructions, others just the dots.
I've decided to make "50 published lace patterns" an A&S 50 Challenge for myself. I'll need to do about one a month to complete the challenge.
August 2012 update: 25 prickings online, if I count generously.
La Caccia - Pungente Dardo - Ganassi - Wilbye - me
The dance La Caccia d'Amore is described in detail in Le Gratie d'Amore (Cesare Negri, 1600). Negri gives music in Italian lute tablature; the same tune appears in Gastoldi's Balletti a cingue voci (1596), as the five-voice part-song La Sirena.
- La Caccia, for alto (or soprano) and tenor recorders, adapted from Negri's tablature
- The same, in larger print
- The cantus (tune) only of La Sirena, at a comfortable pitch for many singers
Other online sources:
- Facsimile of Gastoldi's book, at IMSLP (the cantus of La Sirena is on p13 of the pdf)
- La Sirena in modern notation, also at IMSLP, arranged for five voices or recorders
- Facsimile of Negri's tablature, at the SCA Renaissance Dance Home Page. (Note that the tune given on the previous page is not the same as that in the tablature- it's a reprint of the music for the previous piece, La Catena a'Amore).
Practical performance notes:
La Caccia is a long, playful dance - it's as much a series of games as a choreography, and often continues for many minutes - so many, many repetitions of the same short piece of music are required. It may be advisable to have more musicians than you need, so they can relieve one another at intervals.
The five-voice balletto (whether sung or played) is lovely; however, it's possible to get pleasing music that is good to dance to with much more minimal arrangements.
I've had success with:
- two recorders, playing together
- two recorders, alternating with two violins, swapping after every four repeats of the tune
- two singers, using a call-and-response format: one sings the verse, both the "fa la la"s, the other repeats the verse, both sing the "fa la la"s, etc
- one or two singers, with the dancers joining in on the "fa la la"s, perhaps clapping too
- a singer alternating verses with an instrumentalist
- a singer with a drummer
If you have singers using a call-and-response format, and informal music is suitable for the occasion, you can encourage them to use different words after the first few verses. It relieves boredom for the singers, and often entertains the dancers: we've sometimes started with La Sirena; worked our way through Morley's Now is the Month of Maying (which uses a closely-related tune); then any other well-known renaissance song we can fit to the rhythm; to end in improvised commentaries on the dancing and dialogue between singers, or even incongruously modern words (we've been known to finish with House of the Rising Sun).
This is a temporary home for some of my arrangements of dance music.
- Pungente Dardo, without sciolta, for two instruments, adapted from the tablature in Il Ballarino
- Sciolta, for two instruments, adapted from Il Ballarino
- Reconstruction of the dance
If you'd like this in another clef, or another key, please contact me, or leave a request in the comments below.
In 1535 in Venice Sylvestro Ganassi published his Opera Intitulata Fontegara, a treatise on how to play the recorder. It begins with instruction on playing technique that is specific to the recorder, but the greater portion of the book consists of examples of divisions (i.e. ways to ornament a simple tune); this section is of course relevant to any musician who plays renaissance music.
It's relatively easy to read straight from the facsimile (thanks to the Petrucci Music Library - my favourite source of public-domain sheet music). Nevertheless, a few years ago I transcribed several sections into modern notation. I haven't proof-read all these files so can't vouch for their being perfectly accurate: please contact me if you find errors, and I'll gladly upload corrected copies.
(Transcriptions of the rest of the 3-voice songs from the book will appear if I ever get around to proof-reading them).
Alas, alack, and woe is me! A very silly piece written jointly by Katherina Weyssin and William de Cameron. He missed singing practice, I made rude remarks, and next thing we knew there were words for three verses. I was playing around with Campion's instructions for writing part-songs at the time, so I used our words as a test subject. [Warning: no great artistic merit to be found herein; but it was fun.]
There are several reconstructions of the Contrapasso Nuovo for six from Il Ballarino. This is the version I taught at Canterbury Faire in 2012, and that Anna will teach in 2013.