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Here are 2 contradances (country dances) found in the Flemish archives. 

Most of the dance collections in the archives only provide a melody line and every now and then a brief notation for a figured bass. That means that we have to arrange the dances for performance (midi or live). The musicians of that period had enough playing skills to improvise on site a second voice, countervoice, rhythm patterns and harmony.

These ones are realized with VSL: chamber strings: violins, cello, double bass; traverso flute, oboe, bassoon and harpsichord.

 

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These are delightful, light and entertaining but with an undertone of seriousness -- sort of like a musical plate of Appelflap.  It sounds very traditional, which I mean as a compliment.  I wonder if the "Flemish archives" are a specific book or web site ...?



Jon Corelis said:

These are delightful, light and entertaining but with an undertone of seriousness -- sort of like a musical plate of Appelflap.  It sounds very traditional, which I mean as a compliment.  I wonder if the "Flemish archives" are a specific book or web site ...?

Hi Jon,

The Flemish archives are real archives (in the Ghent, Brussels, Antwerp, Liège conservatories, in the National Library, in some State and City Libraries... Even in France there are some Flemish pieces collected (read: stolen under the French occupations). They reside for the major part in the Paris National Library, but also in the monastery library of Saint-Omer... and in many other places. Some old songs and dances have been published during the folk revival (1980-1995) in printing or facsimile. Some booklets are in private hands.

So it's not really a book or a website, although nowadays, many of these documents can be requested from the national libraries online (mainly in France).

I hope this explanation will do?

Jos

The additional parts all turned out very well. I especially liked the way the strings and flute were balanced. To my ears this sounds very period. I think you nailed this in terms of a blend that would not be discernible from a real group of musicians playing during that time.

Thanks, that's what I was asking about.

I have an excellent CD of Flemish music,  At the Sign of the Crumhorn, Flemish Songs and Dance Music from the Susato by Convivium Musicum Gothenburgense.  It's still listed as available on Amazon US. I also have a small collection, mostly on line, of old folk music books, some of which include Flemish songs; the only whole English-languarge book of them I've found is Flemish folk-songs by Jan Broeckx (Boosey, London, 1915.)  The full text is available in Google Books, at least from the US.  A search on "Femish folk songs" in archive.org returns two or three French language collections.


Jos Wylin said:

Hi Jon,

The Flemish archives are real archives (in the Ghent, Brussels, Antwerp, Liège conservatories, in the National Library, in some State and City Libraries... Even in France there are some Flemish pieces collected (read: stolen under the French occupations). They reside for the major part in the Paris National Library, but also in the monastery library of Saint-Omer... and in many other places. Some old songs and dances have been published during the folk revival (1980-1995) in printing or facsimile. Some booklets are in private hands.

So it's not really a book or a website, although nowadays, many of these documents can be requested from the national libraries online (mainly in France).

I hope this explanation will do?

Jos

Indeed, some of the booklets are in French. But most of them don't provide text. Only some brief titles and sparingly a few musical indications. They all have in common that there is no arrangement, only the melody.

Most of them are handwritten (i.e. that somebody collected them by hearing and wrote them down to use them later). As I mentioned, not all the pieces are 'Flemish'. They appear in various collections from over Europe with slight variations. 

Another important source for the collector was the opera. In the 17th-18th century operas had entr'actes and dances. Some of them were so popular that they circulated in all classes (higher and lower) and even in the streets. So it's not surprising that many of these tunes appeared to come from well known operas of that era. (E.g. I found a waltz that turned out te be a variation of a song from Mozart's Zauberflöte.) The new title was "Walsch: La Douce Flute"...

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