Estampie

:"This article is about the medieval dance; for the German band see Estampie (band)."

The medieval dance and musical form called the "estampie" in French, the "estampida" in Occitan, and "istampitta" (also "istanpitta" or "stampita") in Italian was a popular instrumental style of the 13th and 14th centuries.

Musical Form

The estampie consists of four to seven sections, called "puncta", each of which is repeated, in the form

:"aa, bb, cc, etc.".

Different endings ("ouvert" (open) and "clos" (closed)) are provided for the first and second statement of each "punctum", so that the structure can be

:"a+x, a+y; b+w, b+z; etc.".

Sometimes the same two endings are used for all the "puncta", producing the structure

:"a+x, a+y; b+x, b+y, c+x, c+y, etc.".

A similar structure was shared with the saltarello, another medieval dance.

The earliest reported example of this musical form is the song "Kalenda Maya", supposedly written by the troubadour Raimbaut de Vaqueiras (1180-1207) to the melody of an estampida played by French jongleurs. All other known examples are purely instrumental pieces.14th century examples include "estampies" with subtitles such as "Lamento di Tristano, La Manfredina, Salterello, Isabella, Tre fontane".

Though the "estampie" is generally monophonic, examples of two-voice compositions in the form of an "estampie" are also reported.

Dance Choreography

The idealized dance character of all these pieces suggests that the "estampie" originally was a true dance. There are no surviving dance manuals describing the "estampie" as a dance. Illuminations and paintings from the period seem to indicate that the "estampie" involves fairly vigorous hopping. Some "estampies", such as the famous "Tre fontane" ("Three Fountains") "estampie", contain florid and virtuosic instrumental writing; they may have been intended as abstract performance music rather than actual dance music.

Etymology

The etymology of the name is disputed; an alternative name of the dance is "stantipes", which suggests that one foot was stationary during the dance; but the more widely accepted etymology relates it to "estamper", to stamp the feet.

References

* P. Aubry: "Estampies et danses royales" (1906)- ISBN 2-8266-0603-4
* L. Hibberd: "Estampie and Stantipes" (1944) - in: Speculum XIX, 1944, 222 ff.
* W. Apel: "Harvard Dictionary of Music" (1970) - Heinemann Educational Books Ltd
* Timothy McGee, "Medieval Instrumental Dances".


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