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Re: [KWChoir] Re: [scamusicians] New Music in an Old Style

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  • Karen Kasper
    Oh, yes - arrangement is MUCH easier than composition. Many years ago, I think around 1982, I arranged a bunch of dance music for my barony s instrumental
    Message 1 of 5 , Feb 4, 2013
      Oh, yes - arrangement is MUCH easier than composition.

      Many years ago, I think around 1982, I arranged a bunch of dance music for my barony's instrumental ensemble. At the time it was because our dance mistress' box of dance tapes had been stolen, so rather than try to hunt down sources for all that music to recreate the tapes, I figured we could just record it and then we'd have the right tempi, number of repetitions, etc. It was one of the first booklets of dance arrangements I know of in the SCA, though it has since been superceded by better arrangements (many of mine were very simple, in part because my instrumental ensemble had a lot of beginners in it). Still, you occasionally find some of my versions labeled "Arr. Arianna" in the Pennsic Pile. :-)


      From: Jennifer Kobayashi <jhkob@...>
      To: "scamusicians@yahoogroups.com" <scamusicians@yahoogroups.com>; Perf Guild <perf_guild@yahoogroups.com>; kwchoir <KWChoir@yahoogroups.com>
      Sent: Monday, February 4, 2013 10:38 AM
      Subject: [KWChoir] Re: [scamusicians] New Music in an Old Style

      Greetings from Mistress Gwendolyn of Middlemarch from the Barony of Carolingia in the East Kingdom.

      I have done some composing - mostly for dance music and some vocal - mostly for specific dramatic spectacles we have done in the Barony of Carolingia. My preference is to take a period tune and arrange it for parts, but sometimes that option is not available and sometimes something more specific is needed. I wrote a few pieces for the Masque of the Twelve Goddesses and arranged all the music for it. We also did a ballet de cour; the Balet Comique de le Duc or Perseus for which I composed many dances and songs using the pieces from the period Ballet Comique de la Reine as models for the style.

      Also,  I have transcribed music for the liturgical drama Sponsus for performance and let us say that heightened neumes require a certain amount of artistic interpretation. 

      I know that under Tibicen's guidance several years ago the Carolingian Waytes had a group project to arrange music for all of the dances done in the barony so that the Waytes would have a clear copyright to those arrangements. The tune is period but the arrangement (usually in 4 parts) was done by a modern person - I certainly did several of them myself. For the tunes from Arbeau we used what period arrangements we could find and copied their relatively simple homophonic style of root chords (inversions were very rare for this style.) 

      And of course Master Guiseppe  (Joseph Casazza) did many arrangement of dance music in period style such as the almans and pavan in Practice for Dancing: Some Almans and a Pavan: England 1570-1650 by Patri J Pugliese and Joseph Casazza.

      In my opinion, the most successful attempts to produce a period style come from either arranging/rearranging a period melody using the theory of the melody's time period or copying the style of a specific piece or set of pieces. 

      And although I adore the luminaries of the period (Machaut, Josquin, Palestrina, Victoria and Gabrielli are probably the favorites) I feel much more confident that I am reproducing the styles of some of the more mediocre composers of the time. Of which there are many.

      Your experiences may be different of course.


      From: "corun@..." <corun@...>
      To: Perf Guild <perf_guild@yahoogroups.com>; SCA Musicians List <scamusicians@yahoogroups.com>; kwchoir <KWChoir@yahoogroups.com>
      Sent: Monday, February 4, 2013 9:16 AM
      Subject: [scamusicians] New Music in an Old Style

      Greetings to the lists (I am cross posting this to SCA Musicians, the Atlantian Performer's Guild, and the Known World Choir lists),

      A subject that has always been of interest to me and one which I think we as musicians in the SCA should look into more and take more seriously is writing new music in the old styles. By that I don't mean writing filk songs to modern music or writing SCA themed songs in periodesque styles (that is to say styles that sound vaguely period but are not), but actually studying the styles of such luminaries as Praetorius, Palestrina, Gibbons, des Pres, Dufay, Ockeghem, and even the ballad masters Dowland, Morley and Campion.

      There is certainly a wealth of music to be had from period sources, and it is lovely to hear it done at events. But I wonder if anyone is adding to this treasure trove by actually learning, for example, 15th and 16th century polyphony for both sacred and secular choral music? Or a new lute song in the style of the late 16th century. I have seen dancers come up with new dances steps to old music, and this is always fun to see. It would be nice to give them some new music to dance to as well.

      Does anyone have any thoughts on this? Let's start a discussion of your favorite styles of music or composers? What is your interest in creating something new in an old style. What are you studying, singing, playing?


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