«Diversità di cose». Composizione e improvvisazione nella musica per danza del Quattrocento
Fifteenth-century dance treatises transmit not only specific indications for the ornamentation and improvisation of dance, but also hints regarding musical composition. This study considers movimenti naturali and movimenti accidentali, vodo (upbeat) and pieno (downbeat) of the music and steps, consonance and dissonance applied to dance, the character of the music per bemolle and per bequadro in the gestures and the choreographic steps, the versatility of misure and the function of the tenorista in support of musical and choreographic improvisation. Two compositions are examined and transcribed with the dual aims of investigating the practice of composing music for dance and overcoming some problematic as- sumptions: La bassa di Castiglya, a two-voice composition preserved in the manuscript Bologna Q 16 and La hault dalemaigne, a three-voice piece by Mathurin Forestier (ca. 1470 – ca. 1530) that survives in Ottaviano Petrucci’s Canti C (1504). The former represents a little known version of Falla con misura, the famous duo on the tenor del Re di Spagna from MS 431 of the Biblioteca Comunale Augusta di Perugia and mistakenly considered its copy. The latter, unknown to specialists, can now be incorporated into the small corpus of contrapuntal realizations of alta danza.