The basse danse is a stately courtly dance who’s origin can be traced to Burgundy. It was enthusiastically taken up at numerous courts throughout Europe and flourished for a century long from the middle of the 15th century onwards. That courtly dance existed before this is clear: for example, a description of the basse danse can be found as early as ca. 1320, in a poem by the Toulousain priest, friar and troubadour Raimon de Cornet. No information however concerning its choreography can be found until the early 15th century.
The Brussels (Bibliotheque Royale de Belgique, Ms 9085, ca.1470) and Toulouze (L’art et instruction de bien danser , ca. 1496, by Michel Toulouze) manuscripts are the two most important musical sources of the French basse dance; although both manuscripts are dated to the late 15th century, stylistically their music resembles the earlier decades of the century. These manuscripts, along with a few additional sources, contain around fifty cantus firmi , varying in length between twenty-four and sixty-two notes, notated in slow semibreves without rhythmical variation. It is assumed that the cantus firmi of these basse danses notated in long semibreves provided a monophonic basis for polyphonic instrumental improvisation. Evidence for such a practice can be found in some polyphonic examples written out on the tenor-melody Re di Spagna.
Regarding performance-tempo, Daniel Heartz points towards the relation between the music and the actual choreography in his study concerning the basse danse: according to Heartz, each semi-breve of the basse danse-melody corresponds to one figure in the dance. Each figure consisted out of four movements equal in length, while the musical accompaniment took up six beats. Thus, the dancers moved fluidly on their toes in a three-to-two proportion to the music.
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"... a very pleasant, if not entirely authentic, programme of music from the Middle Ages... Atmospherically recorded in full DSD within a small church acoustic, but with realistic immediacy from all the usicians. Recommended."
John Miller - SA-CD.net - 19 October 2011