Branle by Jean Babtiste Besard

Branle by Jean Babtiste Besard (1567-1617)

Jean Baptiste Besard Although Jean Babtiste Besard was born to a family of some means and noble lineage, he led an extremely active life as a lutenist, composer, teacher, lawyer and medical doctor. His noteworthy treatise on playing the lute, entitled De modo, was included in both of these collections. John Dowland’s son, Robert, presented an English translation of it in his Varietie of Lute Lessons (1610)

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The Branle was a popular group dance of French Origin which possessed certain comic overtones. Due to the rather thick, chordal texture of this robust work by Besard, it’s best played at a moderate tempo, with great care given to bring out all the voices in each chordal evenly.

Furthermore, to avoid confusion, noticed that the first measure begins on the 2nd beat. The B section also begins on the 2nd beat. This causes an interesting “across the bar” sort of phrasing, where ideas are often grouped on beats 2,3,4 and 1. Stressing the 2nd beat may help you clarify this in your interpretation.

Category: France, Genre, Renaissance, World

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