The Almain in Britain, c.1549-c.1675: A Dance Manual from Manuscript Sources

1st Edition

Ian Payne

Published May 28, 2003
Reference - 296 Pages
ISBN 9780859679657 - CAT# Y284204


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This complete scholarly edition of the collection of manuscript choreographies from c.1565-c.1675 associated with the Inns of Court is the first full-length study of these sources to be published. It offers practical reconstructions of the dances and provides a selection of musical settings simply but idiomatically arranged for four-part instrumental ensemble or keyboard.   Part One centres on the manuscript sources which transmit the Almain, and on the trends and influences that shaped its evolution in Britain from c. 1549 to c. 1675, taking account of both music and choreography.  In viewing the Almain within its broader historical context, Ian Payne throws new light on the dance, arguing that, together with the ’measures’ which accompany it in the choreographies, it owes an even greater debt to the English country dance than has hitherto been acknowledged, a popular style that received its fullest expression in Playford's English Dancing Master of 1651.   The second part of the book focuses on the dances themselves. The steps are described in detail and reconstructions provided for the nine Almains and some of the other measures included in the manuscripts. Part Three comprises a complete critical edition of the manuscripts.   These easily performable versions of the dances will be an invaluable aid to those wishing to learn the dances, reconstruct them for stagings of Shakespeare's plays or Jacobean masques, and for dance historians.

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