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Henri IV - An unfinished reign

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P.-F. Caroubel

Source : ‘Michael Praetorius: Terpsichore musarum (1612)’; Ricercar Consort & La Fenice; dir. Philippe Pierlot & Jean Tubéry; Ricercar 139124 (1994).


"The galliard is so called because one must be gay and nimble to dance it, as, even when performed reasonably slowly, the movements are light-hearted. And it needs to be slower for a man of large stature than for a small man, inasmuch as the tall one takes longer to execute his steps and in moving his feet backwards and forwards than the short one." (Thoinot Arbeau, Orchésographie, 1589).
An athletic or "high" dance in ternary metre, the galliard was normally danced after a pavane or a passamezzo. According to the Orchésographie, the basic movement consists of five steps: :

- 1 (temps 1) : « greuë » gauche (« pied en l’air » gauche) ;
- 2 (temps 2) : « greuë » droite (« pied en l’air » droit) ;
- 3 (temps 3) : « greuë » gauche (« pied en l’air » gauche) ;
- 4 (temps 4 et 5) : « greuë » droite (« pied en l’air » droit), suivi d’un « sault majeur » ;
- 5 (temps 6) : « posture » gauche (retomber les deux pieds au sol, pied gauche en avant, pied droit en arrière).

These five steps are then logically danced as a mirror image (starting off with pied en l’air, and so on). It is the possible to endlessly ornament the five basic steps: by crossing the raised leg in front of the stationary leg (pied croisé), by replacing a greuë with a posture, an entretaille, a ruade, a ru de vache (a sort of lateral ruade), a pieds joints or a pieds largis obliques, a révérence passagière, a capriole (a type of scissor kick during the saut majeur), etc. One can also double the basic movement into a series of "eleven steps", by placing the saut majeur on the eleventh beat, and so on.

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