Some Almans and a Pavan
A Manual for Dance Instruction
In which is explained the performance of a number of dances popular in the London Inns of Court in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, together with music in four parts
Patri J. Pugliese & Joseph Casazza
© P. J. Pugliese & J. Casazza, 1980
electronic edition © P. J. Pugliese & J. Casazza, 1999
Corrections and comments, including references to any sections which are not readily comprehensible, are welcomed.
To Dr. Ingrid Brainard for her inspiration and instruction, with gratitude for their assistance to Dr. Elizabeth Cain, Victoria Courtney, Sara Doherty, Mark Peter Fishman, and Elizabeth S. Lott
In his pamphlet on Dancing in the Inns of Court (London, Jordan & Sons, Ltd., 1965), James P. Cunningham presents an important body of materials relating to dance in England in the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries. The four Inns of Court served as professional bodies of lawyers in London. From at least the fifteenth century, it was their practice to sponsor Christmas revels with "all Manner of pastimes as singing and dancing." (Tb. Denton (l535); quoted in Cunningham, Inns of Court (1965), p. 3.) Sir William Dugdale reports in the seventeenth century: "Nor were these Exercises of Dancing meerly permitted; but thought very necessary (as it seems) and much conducing to the making of gentlemen more fit for their Books at other times." (Quoted in Cunningham, Inns of Court (1965), p. 4.)
Various manuscripts describing several of the dances practiced at the Inns of Court have been preserved in a number of British libraries. In his pamphlet, Cunningham not only discusses at some length the role of dancing at the four Inns, but further provides a series of appendices featuring transcripts of the six such manuscripts currently known. The reconstructed choreographies to be presented here derive from a collation of these manuscripts, which, taken as a whole, constitute a unique description of some pavan and alman variations. These manuscripts, with their approximate dates of composition, are:
While these manuscripts describe several of the same dances in similar terms, the descriptions are by no means choreographically identical. The decision of which version of each dance to adopt depended on a variety of factors. Where the choice was between an unclear or ambiguous description and one which was clear, the latter was perforce used. If there was more than one clearly stated description, then the most prevalent version was in general adopted In one case, however, the "Earl of Essex," this principle was set aside, as the less prevalent version best conformed to the music presented in I.T. Misc. XXVII. In all cases, the adopted version relies upon a combination of all the descriptions to illuminate individual sections which may not have been fully clear in one or another of the manuscripts.
A major difficulty in the reconstruction of these dances is the question of how
to perform the individual steps which comprise them; for none of these manuscripts,
nor any other contemporary English source, describe the steps themselves.
Nevertheless, Thoinot Arbeau describes in his French dance treatise,
Orchesograpy(1589), the steps for both the "Pavan" and the
"Allemande." The following single and double step descriptions derive
from Arbeau's instructions for dancing the pavan (Arbeau, Orchesography
(1589), trans. 1948, pp. 54-56). The shorthand symbols for the steps will
be used later in representing the dances themselves.
Arbeau is not very precise about the movements involved in his reverence, beyond his statement of the musical time required. He suggests that men perform this step with the right leg when it is used as a salutation to the lady before and after the dance; for the man may thus turn slightly towards the lady who is at his right. It is Arbeau's figure which best describes the actual position obtained in the reverence. Arbeau's description of the reverence is strictly limited to how this movement is performed by the man; while his figure clearly suggests that the lady does not perform this step at all. Thus, we have:
Arbeau's "Allemande" is a simple forward procession in which any number of couples may fall in behind the lead couple, proceeding with single and double steps like those of the pavan, except that on the final beat, instead of bringing up the trailing foot to close, it is brought forward and raised into the air. When doing this, the raised leg should be bent at the knee with lower leg and foot relaxed, while the rear leg is straight. Arbeau specifies that this "pied en l'air" is made without a jump (Arbeau, Orchesography (1589), 1948, p. 125).
"Pied en l'air gauche"
(Arbeau, Orchesography (1589), 1948, p. 87)
This version of the alman single and double may be performed in all the configurations of backward and sideways singles and doubles, each step ending with the leg raised forward. An alman danced with these steps of Arbeau may fittingly be regarded as being performed in the "French style." Alternate forms of single and double steps may be found at this time in a number of Italian dance treatises. While none of the works describe any dances very much like the English or French processional almans, Le Gratie D'Amore (1602) of Cesare Negri includes a balletto entitled "L'Alemana d'Amore" (Negri Gratie D'Amore (1602), pp. 185-187). The predominant steps used in this "Alemana" are the "seguito spezzato" and the "seguito ordinario," travelling steps corresponding to single and double steps, respectively. These steps may be substituted for those of Arbeau to perform almans in the "Italian style":
These steps may be performed in any of the sideways or backwards configurations described for Arbeau's single and double steps.
Some of the English dance manuscripts refer to steps which have not been described. Most notable are references in Rawl. Poet. 108 to a "repryme backe" and to a "Duble forward hoppe." The first of these, the "repryme backe" has been interpreted as a double back as that is the corresponding step found in the other manuscript versions in all cases where a comparison is possible. The "Duble forward hoppe" (dh) becomes a basic "double forward" in the other manuscript versions. If, however, the "French style" of alman step is adopted, it is an easy matter to add a hop to the last beat to the single or double step as the rear leg is brought forward and up. Arbeau's own description of the alman refers to a more lively version of the single and double step to be used for quicker portions of the alman. These involve a small spring to be made with each step Thus, a single left would consist of a spring forward onto the left foot, followed by a hop bringing forward the right leg. A double left would be a spring onto the left foot, then one onto the right, then the left, and finally the hop bringing forward the right leg. (Arbeau, Orchesography (1589), 1948, pp. 123-125.)
The latest two manuscripts, I.T. Misc. XXVII and R.C.M. Ms. 1119, make use in some dances of a "set and turn." Folk dancers will be familiar with this step: it consists of a rise and step to the (left) side, closing the feet and then pushing up and returning down in place, then doing the same to the other side; and finally turning around (to the left) with four walking steps. Something of the genesis of this step may be seen in the earlier manuscripts. The corresponding step description in the earliest of these, Rawl. Poet. 108 (circa 1570), Douce 280 (circa 1606), and in one case, Harley 367 (undated) reads, with various spellings, "two singles side and a double round." The intermediate Rawl. D. 864 (circa 1630) and, in most points of use, Harley 367 (undated', Cunningham places this Ms. between Rawl. Poet. 108 and Douce 280, but it could well date from later) prefix this instruction as "set two singles..." The decision to do a separate pair of singles followed by a double around or a folk dance "set and turn" (providing this is done in a courtly manner) is largely an arbitrary one. In the instructions to follow, the earlier form has been used, except in the case of the "Black alman" which is described clearly only in the late manuscripts. Actually, if the dances are being performed in the "Italian style," the sideways singles will automatically incorporate some of the rise and fall motion of the setting step.
All of the steps described, be they for the pavan, for the alman in the "French style," or for the alman in the "Italian style," should be performed smoothly and gracefully. In general, this means that each walking step involves placing the ball of the foot on the ground before the heel, though the sharply extended point of modern ballet technique is to be avoided. Steps should not be too long; and men are especially cautioned that when moving in a curved path with the lady on the outside, their steps must be smaller still to permit the lady to keep up while traversing a greater distance. Considerable practice may be required to perform Negri's "seguiti" smoothly--for the rising and falling motion of the final beat must be controlled lest it become a jerky up-down bounce. In most of the dance descriptions, explicit instructions are not always provided of which foot to use in beginning each step. In these cases, Arbeau's general principles of beginning with the left and alternating thereafter have been applied. In the absence of any specific instructions on the positions of the arms and hands, and given Arbeau's figures which invariably show them to be relaxed and pretty much at the sides (with the hands never above the level of the waist), this position is strongly recommended for the free hand. The hand holding your partner's (right for men, left for ladies) should also be held low, as in Arbeau's figure for the "Reverence" above. Although not explicit in the original choreographies, all dances should end with a Reverence directed towards one's partner ("Rr" for men, "R" for ladies).
In Dances of England and France (1949), Mabel Dolmetsch distinguishes between three kinds of dances to he found in Rawl. Poet. 108: the pavan, the "English measure" and the alman. The full corpus of manuscripts, however, rather supports the view that "measure" is a more general term referring to a class of dances which includes both pavans and almans; for Rawl. D. 864, I.T. Misc. XXVII and R.C.M. 1119, all describe themselves as collections of measures. Thus, the opening line of Rawl. D. 864 reads: "A copye of the oulde measures". Douce 280 opens with the line: "The ould Measures," which is written in conjunction with the title of the opening dance, "Quadran Pavin," but which very likely was meant to apply to the series of dances to follow. That the term "measure" was not, on the other hand, applied to all dances whatsoever is particularly well indicated in I.T. Misc. XXVII in which the instructions for the dances described here are followed by a note on the "Sinke a pace" beginning: "Then after all the measures be done hold hands and dance the sinke a pace...." (Cunningham, Inns of Court, 1965, p.33.) A difficulty remains of whether to use pavan or alman steps for those dances not specifically described as being one or the other. As none of these dances, however, conforms to the regular single-single-double pattern characteristic of pavans as described by Arbeau (Orchesography (1589), 1948, pp. 57, 65), and as these dances appear to benefit from the sprightlier alman pace, it is recommended that they be treated as almans.
According to Arbeau's descriptions, there are a number of respects in which pavans and almans are very similar. That is, both are composed of single and double steps (albeit slightly different versions) in various combinations, and, most important, danced by couples formed in procession behind each other. Arbeau's statement of this with regard to the alman is that, "You can dance it in company, because when you have joined hands with a damsel several others may tall into line behind you, each with his partner." (Orchesography (1539), 1948.) The main difference, besides that of the last beat of the individual steps, is the relative stateliness of the pavan compared to the quicker motion of the alman. Dolmetsch, however, introduces an additional major difference for although all of her pavan variations involve interactions only between partners, and thus may be danced by any number of couples, she interprets at least one alman, "The Newe Almayne," as requiring a group of three couples. if the manuscript texts of this dance required any such specific number, then one would certainly be justified in ignoring Arbeau's general precept here. That this is not the case will be shown in the present reconstruction of this dance. Rawl. Poet. 108 does include a dance, "The nyne muses" for which the instructions, while a bit too ambiguous to permit a definite reconstruction here, do clearly indicate that it is to be performed by three groups of three dancers. This dance, however, not only does not bear the label "alman," but it appears at the very end of the manuscript, separated from the almans by a "Coranto Dyspayne." Moreover, the clear specification of the numbers involved in this case argues against any such specific numbers being required in the other cases where they are not detailed. Thus, all of the dances presented here may be performed by any number of couples beginning behind each other and performing all steps and turns simultaneously. In all couples, the lady should be on the gentleman's right, while progress around the room should be in an anti-clockwise direction.
This work also benefitted immeasurably from both the general instruction in dance reconstruction and specific advice on the pavan and alman provided by Dr. Ingrid Brainard, Director of the Cambridge Court Dancers, Cambridge, Massachusetts
The quatheren pavan
To singles sides and a double forward to singles sides and a
double backward all over 4 times 7 soe end.
ssl ssl dl
ssr ssr dr<
four times through.
This dance is also described in Rawl. Poet. 108, Douce 280, Rawl. D. 864, I.T. Misc. XXVII, R.C.M. Ms. 1119. These descriptions agree throughout, except that Rawl. Poet. 108 (which calls the dance simply "The Pavyan") lists only the second pair, and Rawl. D. 864 neither pair, of singles as being to the side; while R.C.M. Ms. 1119 has only one single side preceding the double backe. Rawl. Poet. 108 describes the double backe as a "repryme backe." The instruction that the paired singles be to the same side is not specified in the dance descriptions, but is suggested by the title; for done in that manner, each dancer describes a square.
Mabel Dolmetsch presents a heavily ornamented version of this dance in her Dances of England
and France (pp. 94-96). Based on Rawl. Poet. 108 alone, the basic step pattern adopted
by Dolmetsch is two singles and a double, all forward, followed by two sideways singles and a
double back. Rather elaborate figures are invented for the repeats of the dance. As Rawl. Poet.
108 refers to this dance simply as "The Pavyan," Dolmetsch arbitrarily provides music
of the appropriate length: "The Earl of Salisbury's Pavin."
A very pleasant variation introduced by Dr. Ingrid Brainard is to have the ladies and gentlemen turn to face each other after the second time through. The ladies and gentlemen then begin the next repeat by all going to their own left sides, and then doing a double forward passing your partner with the right shoulder. Following the two singles to the right side, all do a double backward, passing their partner with the left shoulder. This is repeated for the fourth and final time through the dance.
R.C.M. Ms. 1119 gives a melody for this dance, which is provided here in a four part setting. Slightly different music entitled "Quadran Pavan may be found in: Anthony Holborne, The Cittharn Schoole (London, 1597); Thomas Morley, The First Booke of Consort Lessons (London, 1599); and in a large number of manuscripts of the period. All of these are realizations of the passamezzo moderno bass, which has been employed in composing the present setting. The melody falls into four eight-measure sections (A A' A A"), each section corresponding to once through the dance. The cadences fall at the fifth and seventh measures, rather than at the fourth and eighth as the step pattern of the dance would suggest. The effect of this cross rhythm may be disconcerting at first. The music provided in the manuscript includes fifteen additional measures after the thirty two necessary to complete the dance. They have been corrected here to sixteen measures, and may be used should the dance be performed a second time through.
The manuscripts make no mention of a galliard to accompany the quadran pavan, but the
Dallis Lute Book includes a "Quadro Pavin Galiard" which is based
on the same melody as the Quadran Pavan. This lute tablature has been expanded (with the
elimination of certain idiomatic lute figures) into the four part version provided here.
the turcke lone
A double forward & a double backward 4 times to singles sides with a double forward & a double backward then to singles sides with a double forward & a double backe then a double forward & a double backe 4 times & soe end.
(A) dl dr< dl dr< dl dr< dl dr<
(B) ssl ssl dl dr< ssl ssl dl dr<
This dance is also described in Rawl. Poet. 108, Douce 280, Rawl. D. 864, I.T. Misc. XXVII, R.C.M. Ms. 1119. Douce 280 bears the title "Tinternell/Turkelone," but the similarity of the step pattern makes clear that this represents a faulty label which has been corrected below. All versions agree on the (A) figure, though Raw 1. Poet. 108 uses "repryme backe" rather than double back. Rawl. Poet, also omits the repeat of the (A) figure following figure (B). Rawl. Poet. 108 and Harley 367 agree in their descriptions of figure (B) (though Rawl. Poet. 108 again uses "repryme" for the double back), but variations appear in all the other versions: Rawl. D. 864 has one "set /2/ singles a duble forward & a duble backe," but the next word is apparently difficult to read as Cunningham (Inns of Court, 1965, p. 29) has "arise (?)". If however, this word could be read as "twise" (i.e., twice) or "again", this version would agree with that above. Douce 280 has "2 singles syde (2 forw. 2 backe)," while I.T. Misc. XXVII and R.C.M. Ms. 1119 has merely "2 singles side" before proceeding with the final (A) figure.
Versions of the same melody, variously entitled "Turkeyloney," "The Goddes of Love," "Pavane D'Anvers," "Gentil Madonna," etc., appear in a large number of sixteenth and seventeenth century manuscripts, as pointed out by John Ward in "Music for 'A Handefull of Pleasant Delites'" (JAMS, X, 1957, P. 164). The example of this melody which best fits the dance as reconstructed above is that found in the "Francis Willoughby Lute Book" under the title "The Goddes of Love." This tune is divided into four parts: the first consists of six measures repeated; the second of two measures repeated; the third of four measures repeated; and the fourth of four measures (not repeated). According to Rawl. D. 864, the dance "Turquelone" is to be performed "beginning at the seconde strayne" (Cunningham, Inns of Court (1965), p. 29). Thus, the eight double steps of figure (A) will occupy the second (2x2=4 measures), the third (4x2=8 measures) and the fourth (4 measures) parts of the music. The entire tune is then repeated, with the singles and doubles of the figure (B), requiring twelve musical measures, danced to the first part of the music. The repeat of figure (A) brings one to the end of the second time through the tune. Should one wish to extend the dance, the tune may then be repeated, alternating (B) and (A) figures of the dance.
In Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing (V.ii), Benedick sings four lines of a
The god of love,
That sits above,
And knows me, and knows me,
How pitiful I deserve.
A complete text of this ballad was unearthed at Yale University in 1958, and is described by James M. Osborn in an article in the London Times for November 17, 1958, p. 11 ("Benedick's song in 'Much Ado...'"). The text of the song presented there fits the "Francis Willoughby Lute Book" tune "The Goddes of Love":
The God of love that sits above,
And knows me, and knows me,
How sorrowful I do serve:
(sung to the six measures of the first part of the melody)
Grant my request that at the least
She show me, she show me,
Some pity when I deserve.
(sung to repeat of first part)
That every brawl may turn to bliss,
To joy with all that joyful is,
(sung to second part and its repeat)
Do this my dear and bind me
For ever and ever your own,
And as you here do find me,
So let your love be shown:
(sung to third part and its repeat)
For till I hear this unity,
I languish in extremity.
(sung to fourth part)
As yet I have a soul to save
Though troubled with despair.
I cannot find to set my mind
So lightly, so lightly
As die before you be there.
But since I must needs you provoke,
Come slake the thirst, stand by the stroke,
That when my heart is tainted,
The sorrowful sighs may tell
You might have been acquainted
With ane that loved you well:
None have I told the jeopardy
That nane but you can remedy.
Those cursed eyes that were the spies
To find ye, to find ye,
Are blubbered now with tears;
And eke the head that Fancy led
To mind ye, to mind ye,
Is fraught with deadly fears,
And every part from top to toe
Compelleth the heart to bleed for woe,
Alas, let pity move you
Some remedy soon to send me,
And knowing how well to love you,
Your self vouchsafe to lend me:
I will not boast the victory,
But yield me to your courtesy.
I read of old what hath been told
Full truly, full truly,
Of ladies long ago,
Whose pitiful hearts have played their parts
As duly, as duly,
As ever good will could show;
And you therefore that know my case,
Refuse me not but grant me grace
That I may say and hold me nigh
To one triumph and truth,
Even as it has been told me,
So my good lady doth:
So shall you win the victory,
With honour for your courtesy.
With courtesy now, so bend, so bow,
To speed me, to speed me,
As answereth my desire;
As I will be if ever I see
You need me, you need me,
As ready when you require;
Unworthy though to come so nigh
That passing show that feeds mine eye,
Yet shall I die without it,
If pity be not in you;
But sure I do not doubt it
Nor anything you can do,
To whom I do commit, and shall,
My self to work your will, withal.
The Earle of Essex Measures
One double forwardes & one single backe 4 tymes, 2 singles syde, one double forward & one single backe (againe all) honour & soe ende/
dl sr< dl sr< dl sr< dl sr<
sl(in 3 beats)
sr(in 3 beats)
repeat from beginning
This dance is also described in Rawl. Poet. 108, Harley 367, Rawl. D. 864, I.T. Misc. XXVII,
R.C.M. Ms. 1119. In all of these descriptions, the two singles in the (B) figure are followed
by a double forward and a double back ("repryme backe" in Rawl. Poet. 108). The
melody for this dance included in R.C.M. Ms. 1119 consists of an A section of six measures and
a B section of six measures. The A section falls neatly into two groups of three measures,
each group accommodating a double forward and single back. Thus, repeating the A section provides
music for the four double-single combinations of the (A) figure. The B section of the music
falls into two groups of 1 1/2 measures each, and a final group of three measures. It is for
this reason that the two singles to the side in the (B) figure must be performed slowly so as
to occupy 3 beats (1 1/2 musical measures) each. It is possible to perform each of these singles
in the normal 2 beats (one musical measure), and to follow them by a double forward and a
double back; but while this fits the length of the music, it does not accord with the cadence.
It is for this reason that the description of the (B) figure in Douce 280 has been adopted
instead of the more prevalent version.
With the exception of Rawl. Poet. 108 (which makes no reference to repeating the dance pattern) all the descriptions of this dance require that it be performed twice through: but as it is very short, one may well wish to do it four or even more, times through if it is being used as a processional dance.
A double forward & a double backe then tacke wright handes & goe to singles & a double round in your places then take the left hand & doe as much agen a double forward & a double backe 3 times & soe tack wright handes & goe to singles & a double round in your places then tacke the left hand & doe the same & soe end
dldr (end facing partner)
sl sr dl (around partner, holding right hands)
sr sl dr (around partner, holding left hands) (end facing forward)
dldr dldr dldr(end facing partner)
This dance is also described in Rawl. Poet. 108, Douce 280, Rawl. D. 864, I.T. Misc. XXVII, R.C.M. Ms. 1119. Douce 280 bears the title "Turkelone/ Tinternell," but, as with the dance "Turkelone," this surely represents a faulty title which was then corrected below. In Rawl. D. 864, the (A") figure consists of four pairs of forward and backward doubles. In Rawl. Poet. 108, the (A) figure consists of "A duble forward repryme backe 4 tymes," and the dance ends after the first (B) figure. The singles and doubles of the (B) figure are described rather ambiguously in all the manuscripts except Harley 367 as being done "round both ways", while Douce 280 has one do those singles sideways and I.T. Misc. XXVII and R.C.M. Ms. 1119 has one "take your Woman by the right hand and slide to slides and a double rounde in Armes...".
The "Dallis Lute Book" includes a piece entitled "Tinternell" which fits the dance as reconstructed above. This lute tablature has been expanded, with the elimination of certain idiomatic lute figures, into the four part version provided here.
A Duble forward hoppe 4 tymes// a Duble forwarde repryme backe a Duble forward cast off a Duble round twyse// a Duble forward hoppe 4 times// a Duble forward repryme backe a Duble forward cast of a Duble round twyse
(Rawl. Poet. 108)
dlh drh dlh drh
dl dr< dl dr(last double turning full circle away from partner; i.e., men turn to left, ladies to right.)
dl dr< dl dr(last double turning full circle away from partner; i.e., men turn to left, ladies to right.)
repeat from beginning.
This dance is described only in Rawl. Poet. 108. The interpretation of the "repryme backe" as being a double back is based on the apparent equivalence of those terms in the other dances in which comparisons between readings can be made (see "repryme" in introduction). (p. 5)
Pierre Phalese, in his Liber Primus Leviorum Carminum... (Louvain, 1571), includes a four part "Almande Lorayne" which fits the dance above. The same tune appears in an English source, the Sampson Lute Book (formerly: the Tollmache Lute Ms.)(1609), along with other popular dance tunes of the late sixteenth century.
the auld Allman
Tacke both handes & goe to singles & a double to your wright hand round in your places & as much to the left the 4 double for ward then all over againe & soe end.
(holding both hands of partner)
sl sr dl (moving around partner to right)
sr sl dr (moving around partner to left) (face forward)
dl dr dl dr
This dance is also described in Rawl. Poet. 108, Douce 280, Rawl. D. 864, I.T. Misc. XXVII, R.C.M. Ms. 1119. The initial instruction to "Tacke both handes" is present in all versions except Rawl. Poet. 108, which is also unique in omitting the repeat of the (A) figure. That the first pair of singles and double in the (A) figure is to the right, and the second to the left is not indicated in the other versions, in which the singles and double are described as being done "both ways." I.T. Misc. XXVII and R.C.M. Ms. 1119 describe all steps as being done sliding (e.g. "slide two singles and a double round in armes both ways." R.C.M. Ms. 1119.); while I.T. Misc. XXVII has one "slyde a single and a double round" the first time, but has two singles and a double in subsequent sections. The four travelling doubles of the (B) section are described in Rawl. Poet. 108 as "a Duble forward hoppe 4 tymes" while I.T. Misc. XXVII and R.C.M. Ms. 1119 have one "slide four Doubles."
Mabel Dolmetsch reports the text of Rawl. Poet. 108 as: "(1) Two singles and a double forward, both ways. (2) A double forward hopped, four times." (Dolmetsch, Dances of England and France, 1949, p 147). In the absence of the opening instruction to "tacke both handes and to go around "in your places," Dolmetsch interprets the first figure as being a forward procession, with the expression "both ways" indicating that the first pair of singles and double beginning with the left foot and the second with the right. This view depends upon the word "forward" in the first line, but the text itself (which, however, is difficult to decipher) actually reads "round."
Although Dolmetsch arbitrarily assigns an alman tune from the "Fitzwilliam Virginal Book" to this dance, a tune entitled "The Oulde Almaine" appears in Holborne, The Cittharn Schoole (London, 1597), and has been expanded here into four parts. According to Rawl. D. 864 this dance begins "at the second strayne" (see "Turkelone" above), and thus, the second (A) figure will end with the second time through the melody. However, as the (A) and (B) figures each require the same amount of music, and as the music comes to a full cadence at the end of both sections, this instruction is not crucial. The dance may be expanded by further repeats of the (B) and (A) figures performed to repeats of the melody.
A Duble forward repryme backe twyse A Duble forward hoppe 4 tymes.
(Rawl. Poet. 108)
dl dr< dl dr<
dlh drh dlh drh
This dance is described only in Rawl. Poet. 108. It is described by Dolmetsch (Dances of England and France, 1949, pp. 148-150). Dolmetsch makes use of John Bull's "The Duke of Brunswicke's Alman" from the "Fitzwilliam Virginal Book" (circa 1620). An entirely different tune entitled "Almande Bruijnswijck" appears in Pierre Phalese, Hortulus Citharae (Antwerp, 1570). As this work more nearly approximates in date the only manuscript source for this dance, it has been adopted here, expanded to four parts.
The Queens Almaine
A double forward & a.d. backe. 2 singles syde & a.d. rounde on your lefte hande. a.d. forwarde & a. d. backe. 2 s. syde & a. d. round on your right hande. 4 d. forward a. d. forward & a. d. backe 2.s. syde as afore/
dl dr< (end facing partner)
ssl ssr dlOl
dr< dl< (end facing partner)
ssr ssl drOr
dl dr dl dr
This dance is also described in: Rawl. Poet. 108, Harley 367, Rawl. D. 864, I.T. Misc. XXVII, R.C.M. Ms. 1119. The repeat of the (A) figure following the (B) figure, as well as the instruction to end the backward doubles face to face with your partner, is clear from Harley 367, Rawl. D. 864, I.T. Misc. XXVII, and R.C.M. Ms. 1119. The (A) figure described in Rawl. Poet. 108 is different, but requires the same amount of musical time as the version in the other manuscripts; while the (B) figure is described as "a Duple forward hoppe 4 tymes," which may be interpreted as involving a small hop or jump at the fourth beat of each double step. The two sideways singles followed by a double turning around are described in Harley 367 as "sett to singles face to face & turn a double round in your place," and in I.T. Misc. XXVII and R.C.M. Ms. 1119 as simply "sett and Turne."
With a single step requiring one musical measure of two beats, and a double step twice that, the (A) section of this dance will require sixteen measures, and the (B) section will require eight. Although no music for this dance is provided in any of the manuscripts, a "Queen's Alman" appears in the Fitzwilliam Virginal Book, and is used by Dolmetsch in her reconstruction of this dance (Dolmetsch, Dances of England and France, 1949, p. 151). The first section of this music consists of four measures with an ornamented repeat. The second section consists of eight measures with an ornamented repeat. The music continues in sections of four measures repeated and eight measures repeated, all amounting to variations upon the first two sections. In order to perform the (A) figure of the dance with the first section of the music, and the (B) figure with the second section, Dolmetsch has one double step, or two single steps, occupy one musical measure in the first section, enabling her to complete the (A) figure in the eight measures available. In the second section, however, the doubles each occupy two musical measures, and the repeat is omitted, leaving eight measures in this section.
The problem of fitting the dance to the music is readily solved by the instruction in Rawl. D. 864 (a manuscript unknown to Dolmetsch) that the Queen's Alman is to be danced "beginning at the second strayne." Thus, figure (A) of the dance would be performed to the second section of the music, consisting of eight measures repeated, and figure (B) to the first section of four measures repeated. That is, the dancers would join in dancing after the first section of music with repeat has been played. The music would be played twice through for one complete performance of the dance as described. Should one wish to extend the dance, one could simply continue playing the music through, alternating the (B) dance figure, performed during the first section of music, with the (A) figure, performed during the second section.
The newe allemayne
A Duble forward hoppe 4 tymes 2 singles syde a Duble rounde twyse honour one single syde one after another a Duble into yr fellowes place one single one after another a Duble backe into yr owne place agayne.
(Rawl. Poet. 108)
dlh drh dlh drh (end facing partner)
ssl ssr dlOl
ssr ssl drOr honour
ssl (men only) ssl (ladies only)
dl (into each other's place, passing right shoulders)
ssr (ladies only) ssr (men only)
dr (into each other's place, passing left shoulders)
This dance is described only in Rawl. Poet. 108. The "honour" at the end of the (B) figure must be performed as part of the double step preceding it. That is, on the fourth beat of the double step, the man should bend the rear (left) leg slightly as in the "reverence" before closing the step. The lady may close with a slight demi-plié as in her "reverence." If this is found to be inordinately difficult to perform smoothly, it is recommended that it simply be omitted.
Dolmetsch (Dances of England and France, 1949, pp. 153-158) presents an embellished reconstruction of this dance devised for three couples in which the singles sideways in figure (C) are done successively be each couple, rather than successively by all the men and then all the ladies.
No dance or dance music could be expected to retain the title "New alman" for long, and so a positive identification of this dance with its original music is not possible. However, the nearly contemporary work by Bernard Schmid, Einer Neuen Kunstlichen Tabulatur (Strassburg, 1577) includes an "Alemando Novelle" which fits the dance above, and has been transcribed here unchanged. Dolmetsch uses this same music for her version of the dance, but her transcription is inaccurate, while her reconstruction of the dance requires her to add repeats of various sections not in the original source.
Measure Sicilia Almaine
Two singles and a double forwards, and a single back twice the 1st part and the second time part
hand and turne face to face
2nd pt, Then 2 single sydes the first with the left legg, the second with the right, Then honor with the left legg and close againe, Then change places with 2 singles and a double over into each others places & turne all face to face, and honor with the right legg. Then meet with 2 stepps and embrace. Doe all this 2d part step for step into your owne places.
(I.T. Misc. XXVII)
sl sr dl sr<
sl sr dl sr< (end facing partner)
ssl ssr Rl
sl sr dl (into partner's place, passing right shoulders)
Rr, rl (i.e. two steps forward), Embrace
(B) repeats (passing right shoulders into your own place).
This dance is also described in Rawl. Poet. 108, Harley 367, Douce 280, Rawl. D. 864, R.C.M. Ms. 1119. Rawl. Poet. 108 and R.C.M. Ms. 1119 agree with I.T. Misc. XXVII in referring to this dance as an alman. Rawl. D. 864, however, presents essentially the same step pattern as the "Madam Sicilia pavin;" while Harley 367 and Douce 280 do not specify whether this dance is an alman or a pavan (Douce 280 labels this dance as "The blacke Almane/Cecilia," which presumably represents a faulty title, corrected below). Rawl. Poet. 108 includes two additional dances, "The newe cycillia allemaine," and "Cycyllya pavyan," the step patterns of which bear no particular resemblance to the "Cycyllya Allmayne."
All versions of the dance bear the possible ambiguity in the first part as to whether the entire pattern is to be performed twice rather than merely the final backward single. Nevertheless, the reference in I.T. Misc. XXVII and R.C.M. Ms. 1119 to parting hands after "the second time" suggests the former interpretation. Rawl. Poet. 108 differs from all other versions in having the final singles of the (A) figure done to the side and the initial singles of the (B) figure done backwards, rather than the other way around. The two side singles at the beginning of figure (B) are described in Rawl. D. 864 as: "set two singles face to face." Rawl. D. 864 is unique in ending the (B) figure with an "honor with the left legge" after the embrace. The two steps forward between the "honor with the right legg" and the "embrace" at the end of figure (B) are specified only in I.T. Misc. XXVII and R.C.M. Ms. 1119; Douce 280 has the corresponding instruction to "step forward", while the other versions proceed directly from the honor to the embrace. These two steps, symbolized as "rl," are reconstructed here as being two simple walking steps forward (beginning with the right because of the Rr immediately preceding) to close with one's partner. They should be made in two beats, or one measure of music. If the Rr preceding these steps is performed normally, in four beats or two measures of music, there will remain two beats, or one musical measure, for the embrace. If, however, a more leisurely embrace is desired, the Rr may be performed quickly in a single measure, leaving the final two measures of music for the embrace.
No music for this dance has been preserved within the manuscripts, nor has any music of the period been identified as bearing a corresponding title. The music included here is a modern composition produced specifically for this dance in the style of dance music of the period.
The Black Almaine
Sides 4 Doubles round about the house and close the last Double face to face then
part yr hands and go all in a Double back one from the other and meet a Double
againe Then go a Double to yr left hand and as much back to your right hand, then
all the women stand still and the men set & turne, then all the men stand
still and the women set and turne, then hold both hands and change places with a
Double and slide four french slides to the mans right hand, change places againe
wth a Double and slide four french slides to the right hand againe, Then part
hands and go back a Double ane from another and meet a Double againe. Then all
this measure once over and so end.
The second all the men stand still and the women begin set and turne and then men last.
(R.C.M. Ms. 1119)
dl dr dl dr (end facing)
dl< (away from partner) dr (towards partner)
(all turn to face own left) dl (turn around to face right) dr (end facing own partner)
setlr turnl (men only)
setlr turnl (ladies only)
(take both hands of partner) dl (around to left into partner's place)
4 "french slides" (to men's right)
dl (around to left into own place)
4 "french slides" (to men's right)
dl< (away from partner) dr (towards partner)
Repeat, with ladies doing first set & turn and men second.
This dance is also described in Harley 267, Douce 280, I.T. Misc. XXVII. The last of these agrees precisely with the R.C.M. Ms. 1119 version. The version in Douce 280 agrees as well, except that in place of the double moving to the left followed by a turn around and a double returning to the right (R.C.M. Ms. 1119, 11. 5-6), the instruction is to "sl. on your lefte hand." and the set and turn is described as "2 s & a d rounde." The version in Harley 367 resembles but is not precisely the same as, the first half of the dance as presented in the other manuscripts, ending with the instruction, "then set to singles sides & turn a double round."
This dance was reconstructed some years ago by Dr. Ingrid Brainard. In lieu of any contemporary description of a "french slide", a simple sideways skip was adopted. This consists of a step to the side with the man's right foot (lady's left) and a slight jump as the left foot (lady's right) is slid towards the right; as the weight settles onto the left foot, the right steps out to the side to begin the second slide.
The melody for this dance is provided in R.C.M. Ms. 1119, and has been set to four parts in the music provided.
Last Update: June 5, 2000
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