Bring on the dancing girls! (a Gadibus usque auroram)

TitleBring on the dancing girls! (a Gadibus usque auroram)
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2005
AuthorsWulstan, D
JournalAl-Masaq: Islam and the Medieval Mediterranean
Volume17
Issue2
Pagination221-249
Abstract

In Greece and Rome, Ionic rhythm appears to have been associated with erotic dances. A tune-type going with this rhythm is found in several of Alfonso's Cantigas (second half of the thirteenth century) and in folk music from around the Mediterranean, recorded from the sixteenth to the twentieth centuries. Could these tune-types (and their associated ground-basses) go back as far as Martial's Dancing-girls of Cádiz – and indeed to Euripides and Aristophanes? There is also a possible link with the kharjas of the Andalusian muwashsha.(h)āt, and a substantial connexion with the dance known from later sources as the Canaries. Not only is there evidence of a rhythm and associated melodic motive stretching over more than two millennia, but we can discern, even hear, parts of an unwritten tradition of improvised instrumental music and discover a harmonic vocabulary which mostly emerges on the written page only in the Renaissance. [http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/09503110500222344]

DOI10.1080/09503110500222344

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