Three Italian dances from Il Ballarino (1581)

  1. Martin Jonas
    Martin Jonas
    These are three Italian renaissance dance tunes from the 1581 dance manual "Il Ballarino", by Fabritio Caroso (1526/1535 -- 1605/1620). The book contains many much-recorded early dance tunes -- I am particularly fond of the Broadside Band album "Il Ballarino" -- but these three are relatively obscure:

    Allegrezza d'amore
    Leggiadria d'amore
    Bella gioiosa

    The images in the video are facsimile scans from the book, including the dance instructions and lute tablature for these three dances.

    Based on four/five part harmony arrangements made from the lute originals by Steven Hendricks, available from his SCA early music pages at:

    Recorded without the bass parts on:

    "Baroq-ulele" bowlback soprano ukulele/lute (tuned in fifths, GDAE)
    1915 Luigi Embergher bowlback mandolin
    Mid-Missouri M-111 octave mandola (GDAE)
    Ozark tenor guitar (Leggiadria d'amore only)

    Same recording levels and stereo positions for each instrument across the three tunes to create a consistent soundscape. The background noises on the third tune are my daughter dancing while I'm recording -- it's an infectious 6/8 jig...

    For comparison, there are several videos of each of the three dances on Youtube, showing renaissance dance enthusiasts performing to Caroso's instructions. Most of the other recordings are either on recorders/shawms or on viols -- as the originals were arranged for solo lute, the plucked string tonality of my versions is arguably more authentic.

  2. Martin Jonas
    Martin Jonas
    I have recently figured out that I can read and play bass clef parts for most of these early music arrangements by retuning a bouzouki to FCGD -- this puts the open strings on the same places in the bass clef as they are for GDAE tuning in treble clef. So, I've been adding bass parts to some of my recordings that I had originally recorded without bass. It fills out the sound nicely, and sometimes changes the character of the recording a lot.

    So, here are the three dances from Il Ballerino, with added bass parts -- sounds more dance-like this way with a stronger rhythm:

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