The 'mean' Gavotte




Ex. 1 The Gavotte structure, bb. 1-2 in Telemann’s Don Quichotte, ‘Sanche Panse berné’, (Telemann, 17??)


The initial motif of 'Sancho’s punishment' has a Gavotte structure, a dance characterised by two short and lifted upbeats.

In the context of the story – a merry but mean company teasing Sancho – the Gavotte proper might appear as too refined and too elegant in order to express the image in the narrative.

In order to bring out the mean character, I suggest to 'distort' the Gavotte pattern by making the normally short upbeats long and mean.

Compare the Gavotte proper in Ex.2 with a distorted mean articulation of the upbeat in Ex. 3:


Ex. 2 & Audio1 The Gavotte articulation with bowings imitating the dance structure [2].


Ex. 3 & Audio2 The Gavotte structure is here distorted with 'long and mean' upbeats.


A listener who is familiar with baroque dances will recognize this as a 'distorted Gavotte', which may in turn inform the perceived musical signification. But even an unfamiliar listener will perceive the palpable physical resistance of the push and pull forces of the employed gesture. Ex. 4 demonstrates the 'mean' bowing action graphically.


Ex. 4 The bowing action with long upbeats will enact a resistance in the upbeat.


To express the forward motion, a Soundist will apply dynamic variation:


Ex. 5 & Aud. 3 Applying dynamic variation will mark the metrical structure, where the 'mean' and resistant upbeat moves forward by increasing the sound and accenting the downbeat.


As a Gesturist, I will manifest the forward direction in body movement, as if pushing through a resisting obstacle. Example 6 gives a representation of the bowing action in a manner which can simultaneously represent a 'mean' body movement: the arrows in full lines represent the resistance in the bowing action; the dotted line illustrates the body pushing forward..


Ex. 6 The mean upbeats executed as a body movement pushing forward through the resistance in the bow action.


Video 1 The 'mean' upbeats executed as body movement.








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