Music session - 27th February 2017
Sympkyn of the Moor, hammered dulcimer
Katherine of Glastonbury, harp
Katherina Weyssin, tenor and bass recorder
Elena Harper, rebec and harp
Yvonne Gywnn, viol and recorder
We started with the Cantiga again, our newest performance piece. Experimental at this stage but sounding good already. Generally seems to appeal as a pretty tune. More Cantigas might be on our horizon although being able to identify them is going to be necessary. Some musicians are working on memorising it also which is encouraging.
Then we played our set of:
- Washerwomans bransle
- Scottish bransle
Again individually and then as a set. Again there are some who are learning to play it without using sheet music. This is a bit of a new step for some and although it can be frustrating at first, it does get easier with practice and it's so great to see people willing to give it a go.
Fittingly perhaps then, the next tune was Il Canario, for which dots are strictly banned. We had a good time with this one. The base tune is simple and the options for variation are plentiful, and although it needs to be a wee bit more jaunty than our current tempo, we're actually not that far off a decent dance speed already. For those who don't know the dance, it is an improvising dance without a fixed length, so the musicians are expected to keep playing until the dancers have stopped, which can be (I believe) anything from 5-10 minutes up to 20 odd minutes. So when we play this at a ball or dance we won't be saying "let's do x number of repeats" as we do with some of the others... we'll just start and keep going until someone pays us to stop. Or throws chocolate.
To end with we segwayed into La Traditore my fa Morire, our favourite galliard tune. Again many of those present knew this one without music and those that didn't learned it quickly. And again for those who have not met the dance, the galliard is an improvisation dance and musicians are required to continue playing for as long as necessary. This being the case it's a good one for people to experiment with different things for various repeats, e.g. melody instruments can drone instead for a bit and let someone else hold the tune... find some nice harmonies... maybe invent some ornamentation to the basic tune... and in extreme cases drop out completely and dance for a bit or have a pint before joining back in!