These are my notes on how I got to an interpretation of a dance.
Prenes on gre A dance for 2 [steps no. 7, music no. 5]
"Trace forthright 6 singlis; ather torne other aboute, and forthright 6 singles agen.
After the end of the trace, rak both togeder and torne.
3 Then face to face 6 singlis, eithir contrary oder, and 3 retrettes ayen.
2 Then a flowrdilice of both at oyns.
r Then change places and torne face to face. Then a flowrdelice and come togeder.
Music - The copy is too difficult to read. It appears to have 5 sections, as does the dance. However they do not seem to line up quite right. The numbers before the steps do not match up with the corresponding number of repeats in the music, and is the last music section supposed to be repeated 8 times as may be indicated in the manuscript?
What if the last two lines were one section of music, the last, with 4 bars repeated 8 times? It fits. Then the line before is corresponds to parts 3 and 4 of the music. This would make a "3 retretts" mean 3 singles.
Formation: From trials we have done it appears that the dance works either starting off side by side or facing each other across the room.
To me, starting the dance facing eachother across the room makes thes dance look like a choerography of a tournament, or encounter between two knights. At first they meet each other, talk and prepare for battle (ie the trace). Then they charge at each other lances leveled. They then discard the lances and approach with swords drawn. They make two passes thus and then end the battle comming together. (Note. I was also reading Spenser's The Fairy Queen when first interpreting this dance.)
"Trace forthright 6 singlis; ather torne other aboute, and forthright 6 singles agen."
The first bit of music has 4 bars repeated 3 times. There is no indication that the trace is repeated.
The steps has 6+2 (for the turn if it is separate) + 6 bars or 14 bars. If the turn the other about is part of the first 6 singles then we would only need 12 bars which is 3x4 bars as in the music.
Another possibility is that the first and last four singles are forward while the middle four are used to turn the other about. Which would "fit" the music.
Of course it could be that the song is two repeats of 6 bars also and that is what is telling the dancers what to do not the music.
"rak both togeder and torne."
This section of the music has 4 bars. If the torn is a double then a rak takes two bars.
I am currently treating this as a "set and turn single". A rak appears to be a sideways step.
"3 Then face to face 6 singlis, eithir contrary oder,"
I have no idea what the "3" at the beginning means.
In this part the 6 singles could be done in a circle, in a line the opposite direction to each other, or passing each other.
"... and 3 retrettes ayen."
Looks like 3 singles and a pause. There is an short bar at the end of this section.
I am treating the "ayen" as the Esperans "ayen his face" and turning arround to retrace your steps in the six singles before.
"2 Then a flowrdilice of both at oyns.
r Then change places and torne face to face. Then a flowrdelice and come togeder."
This makes a total of 8 times 4 bars, which matches the last section of the music.
In Temperans the flourdelice is 8 bars long not 4! In Northumberland the flourdelice is also 8 bars long (check this again as there are problems with Northumberland).
What is actually being said is "Do the usual flourdelice except in the first two bars change places and end facing. Then do the usual flourdelice except in the first two bars come together side by side to face the judge/king.&qout;
This might fit since the first two bars worth of the flourdelice in Northumberland are also different from those in Temperans.
Back to main Gresley page.
Web builder: Norman Gray a.k.a. Hoskuld Atlason of Iceland Send e-mail