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Saraband

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BACKGROUND

Information: A dance.

Translation: From Spanish word "zarabanda"

Pronunciation: SAHR-eh-bahnd

Other name: Sarabande

Region: Americas


COMMENTS

Stevenson, the musicologist, found the earliest evidences of the Saraband in Mexico, I think. At any rate, his scholarship is impeccable and I suggest you go to his article – sorry I can't remember its title, but something like 'Early references to the Saraband in the Americas, in one of the earlier issues of the Journal of the American Musicological Society (JAMS).

The New York Public Library Music Collection catalogues articles individually. A good librarian will be able to help you find the article quickly.

One thing that's very clear is that the Saraband in the sholarship is impeccable and I suggest you go to his article – sorry I can't remember its title, but something like 'Early references to the Saraband in the Americas was a lascivious dance; when it first arrived in Europe it was forbidden to honorable women. It obviously had virtually nothing to do with the Sarabandes we have that were notated in the 18th century.

–Julia Sutton


I have a question: How much is known about the very earliest form of Sarabands? Could there be survivals in Latin America that we don't know about?

The reason that I'm asking is that I just read a novel by Jorge Amado called The War of the Saints. And there's a bit in there (translated from Portuguese) where two men "immeiately broke into the same saraband." The context is that of the candomble, and speciically possession by an orixa, and it's made fairly obvious that the dance in question is fast and active rather than the more usual slow and graceful Saraband.

"The Sarabande; a Dance of American Descent" by R. Stevenson in the July, 1962 Inter-American Music Bulletin (#30) and an article in the Music Quarterly (I'm sorry I don't remember the exact issue) entitled: "The Afro-American Musical Legacy to 1800" also by him. I seem to remember that the Sarabande is the only dance to have been forbidden by a Papal Bull – not once but TWICE (the first Bull evidently not having much effect on the populace, who went on dancing it)!


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