Gaïta Medieval Music - Dances
The Gresley Manuscript1(England, c.1475)2 contains 26 dance descriptions and 13 melodies. Only 8 of these overlap in their titles, and we have published our reconstructions of these in the booklet "Eschewynge of Ydlenesse" with music on the corresponding CD. The following dances have been reconstructed from some of the remaining descriptions and arranged to fit some of the remaining melodies. As the descriptions themselves are rather ambiguous, these are tenuous reconstructions, and obviously alternative interpretations are possible.
After the end of the trace
trett and retrettt togeder and thre forth with a stop: then trett and
retrett togeder and both torne at onys/ then both forth togeder with vi
singlis and then change hande/ then fforth with oder sex singlis and
change hande/ then trett and retrett at onys then rake both at onys."
The music we have used is 'Title illegible' (Music No. 3, our own transcription from the manuscript).
For one couple.
A: Trace: As for other Gresley reconstructions we assume this is a simple introductory processional figure. The tune suggests salterelli, and there is time for 16 of these.
B1: Both rake (single diagonally left) then the man does a half turn while the woman retreats. The timing/spacing works if the turn and retreat are both done as a double, the man in a clockwise half circle to end facing the woman, the woman moving backwards, so that they are lined up directly opposite each other.
B2: Both rake (again left, as they are now facing this will be 'contrary' to each other) then the woman does a full turn on the spot while the man retreats. Again use a double. At the end of this figure the couple are facing each other, a short distance apart, with the woman on the 'man's side' of the dance and vice versa.
C: (Note the tempo change in the music, to a slow bassadanza) Both trett and retrett (single left forward, single right back) then do a double left to meet, and touching right hands, a reverence with the right foot, then a right double to change places. Still facing opposite directions, both do three slow singles (left, right, left) away from each other, a half turn by crossing over the right foot in front of the left, then three slow singles (left, right, left) towards each other, the man finishing with a half turn so that the couple have resumed their original positions.
D: (Note the tempo change) A flowrdelice (interpreted as a casting-out pattern). It fits the music to do this as two half circles, casting out with a double, then coming together again with a double. Then both turn on the spot to the left with a double.
 Derbyshire Record Office, D77 box 38, pp. 51-79. There is a transcription of the text and music in Fallows, D. (1996) The Gresley Dance Collection, c. 1500. Research Chronicle of the Royal Musical Association, 29:1-20.
 A discussion of evidence pointing to an earlier dating than suggested by Fallows, along with her own reconstructions of 8 dances, is provided by Nevile, J. (2000) Dance steps and music in the Gresley Manuscript. Historical Dance, 3(6):2-19.