Thursday, 19 January 2017

Le Roy: Three Dances

Title page of Le Roy: Renaissance guitar tablature
An image of the title page of the book from which I have transcribed these three dances. The first two are bransles, or branles or brawls. The Oxford Companion to Music describes bransles as originally round dances which became popular in the French Royal Court around the period of these tablatures, the rhythm usually being two-in-a-bar, although those from Poitou (Poictou) were three-in-a-bar.

In transcribing Bransle de Champagne, I dithered between 2/4 and 4/4 time, but the latter looked more readable, so that I what I chose. You can decide by downloading the tabs in these formats pdf (preview), pdf auto download, TablEdit and MIDI.

Bransle de Poictou caused no problems of time signature (3/4). Download the tabs in these formats pdf, pdf auto downloadTablEdit and MIDI.

I chose Pimontoyse to transcribe because the name intrigued me. It's in 3/4 time, and the first bar is reminiscent of Twelfth Street Rag, a popular jazz-tinged record of my youth. I imagine that the name is an early version of 'Piedmontaise', but I'm open to correction. Anyway, here it is in pdf, pdf auto download, TablEdit and MIDI formats. [Note added later: I am grateful to "ukatee", a contributor to the Ukulele Underground Forum for many helpful suggestions for improving  this transcription; the linked files have been updated accordingly.]

The tabs look pretty simple, but the sounds and rhythm are intriguing. I found some of the harmonies in Champagne and Pimontoyse a little weird, but I have double-checked the transcriptions and they look OK. As I'm doing these transcriptions, in part, to help me understand the music of the period, I've added chord symbols to help my analysis. So much to learn ...

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I hope you enjoy these arrangements. I would welcome your views, and comments on possible errors or improvements.