>Thomas Dent wrote:
>I'm sure it has been said a thousand times already, but most keyboard
>'dances' (and particularly by the Bachs) are not literally dances,
>rather pieces containing some element of dance rhythm... the
>relationship between real dance rhythms and their use in keyboard
>music is somewhat complicated.
>I wonder if people ever danced to Byrd's Pavans and Galliards.
My own rule of thumb is simple and, I think, realistic. If a dance
was still being actively danced, then everyone concerned knew its
proper tempo (as well as its steps), and any keyboard or ensemble
version should observe that tempo. That could include at least some
of Byrd's music, although my understanding is that already during
Elizabeth's reign the Pavan and Galliard were falling out of fashion
and being replaced with the newer Alman and Courant. And it would
most certainly apply to Minuets when they were still actively used as
both social and theater dances, right through Mozart's and Haydn's
time, as well as to the earlier 18th century when they were quite in
fashion in Paris.
And the same applies to Schostakovich's "Age of Gold" ballet suite.
When he wrote a "Polka" movement, people all over the world were
still dancing polkas, so the proper dance tempo is required. And the
case would be similar with any Two-Step, Schotisch, Fox Trot, or
Charleston written when those dances were in active use, even though
they might well be "art music" as well. Dance musicians do NOT
select tempi at random, and I doubt that they ever have.
John R. Howell
Virginia Tech Department of Music
College of Liberal Arts & Human Sciences
Blacksburg, Virginia, U.S.A 24061-0240
Vox (540) 231-8411 Fax (540) 231-5034
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