The intimately related phenomena of dance and instrumental variation were prominent features of Spanish culture during the 17th and early 18th centuries. These variations (diferencias) on a set piece of music or choreographed movement permeated the activities of professional and amateur musicians, secular and sacred festivities, and were cultivated by the aristocracy as well as the lower class. The incorporation of variation into the instrumental music which accompanied dance enabled the instrumentalists to produce pieces of sufficient length and diversity to accommodate the needs of the dancers on different occasions. As to the two volumes which will complete this set, Volume 2 supplies a complete inventory and transcription of th e extant instrumental dance pieces and variation sets (495 pieces plus 228 pasacalles), and Volume 3 will contain the original notes in Spanish.
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Maurice Esses has not merely broken new ground with his study of Spanish diferencias in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, but has accomplished the task with skill and comprehensiveness. ... For historians of dance and of music, and for practitioners of the two arts, this book is an important new resource. --Richard Semmens, Dance Chronicle
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