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Orchesography: 16th-Century French Dance from Court to Countryside [Paperback]

Thoinot Arbeau
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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Book Description

July 21 2011
Generally regarded as the most valuable book on 16th-century dance and music available, this volume offers detailed instructions for all of the steps involved in pavans, gavottes, galliards, and more. References to the practices of instrumental music of the 1500s appear throughout the text, in addition to 47 dance tunes with period barring and notation. 44 illustrations.

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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars How to dance in the Renaissance France Nov. 26 2011
Format:Paperback
This is the best translation from French into English of Arbeau's book. It gives descriptions of the steps to each dance form in details enabling the reader to actually learn to dance such dances : bransle, corante, pavane, gaillarde, to name only a few. The Laban dance step transcriptions are most useful. Steps for specific dance form are easy to find quickly. This book is strongly recommended to anyone who wishes to know how to dance Renaissance dances.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A great resource for Renaissance French dance April 26 2000
Format:Paperback
A book to have if you're interested in Renaissance dance and which is especially useful for beginning dance reconstruction as it's quite accessible. It contains a translation of the whole text by Thoinot Arbeau (published in 1589) translated into English, plus notes and a set of modern notation for the dances. The text is structured as a dialogue between an old dancing master and his young student and contains descriptions of steps, various dance trivia and some social context info, and usually the music, coreography and possible variations (though not all of these for every dance). Many of these dances will be known to dancers of early music yet you could be surprised to learn that many so-called Arbeau dances do not follow his text much. Additionally there's quite a scope for improvisation along the guidelines given. The dances include many branles, a couple of pavanes and basse dances, tourdion and galliard variations, etc.
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Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  7 reviews
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great resource for Renaissance French dance April 26 2000
By Marianne Perdomo Machin - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
A book to have if you're interested in Renaissance dance and which is especially useful for beginning dance reconstruction as it's quite accessible. It contains a translation of the whole text by Thoinot Arbeau (published in 1589) translated into English, plus notes and a set of modern notation for the dances. The text is structured as a dialogue between an old dancing master and his young student and contains descriptions of steps, various dance trivia and some social context info, and usually the music, coreography and possible variations (though not all of these for every dance). Many of these dances will be known to dancers of early music yet you could be surprised to learn that many so-called Arbeau dances do not follow his text much. Additionally there's quite a scope for improvisation along the guidelines given. The dances include many branles, a couple of pavanes and basse dances, tourdion and galliard variations, etc.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Let's Go To The Hop! Sept. 7 2011
By Kittybriton - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
More than forty years since it was first printed in this translation, with the addition of a Labanotation appendix describing the dances, this remains one of the most important references for anyone interested in renaissance dance described characteristically for the period, in the form of a dialogue between a professor and his visitor, a returning student seeking advice on dance as a means of social interaction and particularly courting. Of almost equal importance to the descriptions of the dance steps are the tunes, presented in the original mensural notation. And many of these tunes should be familiar to anyone who has at least heard Peter Warlock's "Capriol Suite", derived from these pieces.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An essential for Renaissance Dance Feb. 12 2010
By John Sowerby - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Originally published in the late 1500's, Orcheosgraphy is a wonderful look at period music and dance, in a well translated version. If you have any interest on either of the two, then you should have this book in your library.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not for the dabbler ... June 17 2008
By sally shopper - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is the translation of a historical manuscript. For those who wish to immerse themselves in the study of medieval dance, this book is essential. But for those who simply wish to recreate a dance or two from this period for theatrical or entertainment purposes, this book would probably be overkill. The language throughout the text is well translated, and not too difficult to follow, but it contains a lot of references to musical theory and the descriptions of dance steps are sometimes a bit vague. I find it to be a wonderful reference, but not terribly useful as an introduction to medieval dance to those who are not already familiar with the language and a certain amount of music theory of that time.
5.0 out of 5 stars Savoir sur quel pied danser Dec 4 2013
By Alex Humez - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Unlike some other Dover reprints, this edition of the Orchesography was apparrently made from reasonably pristine plates. The book itself is indispensable for anyone with more than a casual interest in dance of the period. (If this quite readable translation whets your appetite, you can find a copy of the French original on line.)
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