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Article

M. Elizabeth C. Bartlet

[ballet en action, ballet pantomime; pantomime ballet] (Fr.)

A stage work in which a dramatic story is conveyed through gesture, dance and instrumental music. It developed in part as a reaction against the divertissement in opera, in which dance is designed to delight the eye and depict a general mood, and the opera-ballet, where vocal music has an important role and plots are loosely constructed. Some consider it as analogous to the ‘reform opera’ of Gluck. Key exponents in France in the second half of the 18th century and the first part of the 19th were the choreographers Jean-Georges Noverre, Gaetano Vestris and the Gardel brothers. Their successors, among them Pierre Aumer and Filippo Taglioni, followed this tradition, and with changes in technique and costuming are credited with the creation of the Romantic ballet....

Article

Richard Hudson and Suzanne G. Cusick

(It.; Fr. ballet; Eng. ballett)

An Italian dance of the 16th and 17th centuries, occasionally called ‘bal’ or ‘ballo’. There seem to be three periods of development, two instrumental and one vocal: for lute during the second half of the 16th century; for voice from 1591 to about 1623; and for chamber ensemble from about 1616 to the end of the 17th century.

The term ‘balletto’ was also applied at the same time in a more general sense. It was used as early as 1581 by Fabritio Caroso as a heading for some of the choreographies published in Il ballarino, and Cesare Negri (Le gratie d’amore, 1602) used it alongside the apparently similar ‘ballo’ and ‘brando’ as a title for his created social and theatrical dances (see Ballo). In Barbetta’s Intavolatura di liuto (1585) ‘balletto’ indicates a dance from a foreign country. Some late 16th-century references use the word ‘balletto’ for theatrical or dramatic dances that would have been called ‘ballets’ in France (see A. Solerti: ...

Article

Richard Hudson

The Italian instrumental balletto appeared from about 1561 to 1599 (mainly for lute) and from 1616 to 1700 (for chamber ensemble). During the second half of the 16th century, ‘bal’, ‘ballo’ or ‘balletto’ was a generic name in Italy for various foreign dances, such as the bal boemo, ballo francese and baletto polaco. Barbetta in 1585 referred to them collectively as ‘baletti de diverse nationi’. The most numerous were those indicating Germanic origin: the bal todescho (in Gorzanis’s lutebooks of 1561, 1563 and 1564), the ‘todescha’ or ‘tedescha’ (Mainerio’s ensemble collection of 1578), balo todesco (Gorzanis, 1579), baletto todesco (Barbetta, 1585), ballo tedesco (Terzi, 1593) and finally ballo or balletto alemano (Terzi, 1599). Similar terminology continued in the guitar books of the first half of the 17th century. Some of the earlier chamber examples are also entitled ‘balletto alemano’ (Biagio Marini, 1617, 1626 and ...

Article

Suzanne G. Cusick

Both Morley and Praetorius (Syntagma musicum, iii, 1618, pp.18–19) considered the Mantuan composer G.G. Gastoldi to have invented the vocal balletto as a musical genre with his publication in 1591 of the Balletti a cinque voci con li suoi versi per cantare, sonare, & ballare (ed. in Le pupitre, x, 1968). These works enjoyed great popularity, being reprinted many times in Italy and northern Europe up to the mid-17th century. In most of his ballettos Gastoldi set strophic texts in a homophonic texture, with sections of nonsense syllables (‘fa-la’, ‘na-na’, ‘li-rum’) interpolated at the ends of couplets or tercets. Nearly all consist of two repeated strains (AABB) and the nonsense syllables, sometimes set contrapuntally, act as a refrain at the end of each section. The songs are syllabic and rather repetitious, the strophic form limiting the opportunities to depict the content of the verses, and all are highly rhythmic. It is likely that Gastoldi’s songs were originally part of a costumed dance, perhaps performed at the theatrically active Mantuan court or at an academy; the title-page states that they were for ‘singing, playing and dancing’. Each has a descriptive title (e.g. ...

Article

M. Elizabeth C. Bartlet and Thomas Bauman

Both universalist and emphatically humanist in outlook since its founding in 1540, the Society of Jesus has always functioned as one of the principal educational arms of the Catholic Church and the papacy. This role developed most fully in the colleges and seminaries established by the Jesuits in Catholic lands. Here instruction stressed not only theology and philosophy but also literature. As early as the 16th century, dramatic representations were staged at these institutions, drawing together elements from the humanist theatre, medieval mystery plays and Shrovetide entertainments. The Bible served as the basic source material, but secular and often local subjects were used too, invariably with a strong emphasis on the allegorical and symbolic, and music often had an important role.

Early examples of Jesuit drama with music are recorded from the Low Countries (Josephus by Georg Maropedius, given in 1544 in Antwerp and published in Utrecht, 1552–3), Spain (...

Article

Christopher Balme

The dances and music of the Polynesian peoples have had varying impact on the United States over the last one and half centuries. Of greatest importance are Hawaiian music and dance, including musical instruments such as the Pedal steel guitar and Ukulele, and practices such as the Hula (see Hawaii). Owing to US colonial involvement in the region, exchange and influences transcend just the Hawaiian connection. For the 1909 production Inside the Earth at the New York Hippodrome 50 Maori performers were imported from New Zealand for the season. To promote her 1926 silent film, Aloma of the South Seas, the dancer Gilda Gray toured with a Polynesian band, The Royal Samoans, and performed her “Polynesian dance” before showings. The Royal Samoans capitalized on the craze for Hawaiian and Tahitian music and dancing. They performed throughout the United States in the interwar period, even obtaining a live cameo in the ...

Article

Samba  

Kaleb Goldschmitt

An Afro-Brazilian popular music and dance form. Musically, it features duple meter with an emphasis on the second beat, a lively tempo, interlocking syncopated rhythms in the melody and accompaniment, and often responsorial singing. People dance sambas solo, in couples, groups, and circles called rodas. Movements feature rapid foot alterations to emphasize the music’s syncopated rhythms. Theories of samba’s exact origins range from the circle dances accompanied by rhythms from Angola in the Brazilian Região Nordeste to the lundu, a Brazilian dance genre from the 18th century.

Samba coalesced as a distinct genre in the early 20th century in Rio de Janeiro. Tia Ciata (Hilária Batista de Almeida) hosted popular parties in the Praça Onze area of Rio—home to many immigrants from the state of Bahia. Early samba innovators such as Pixinguinha, Donga, João da Baiana, and Sinhô combined many popular rhythms, such as marcha, maxixe, polca, habañera, and batuque...