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Barriera (Negri)

Title translation: 
At the barriers
Dance Type: 
Number of dancers: 

The music in Negri is clearly concordant with that in Caroso's books, but the structure isn't entirely clear to me. Time for another look at this?

[Below is my discussion of the music from 2005].


The text is written in ten parts. The first seven take the same music (one playing each), and the last three are each subtitled mutatione della sonata (the last is in gagliarda), giving a total of four sections. The written music has nine parts divided by double bar lines, and six mensural sections (duple, one part; triple 2 parts, one apparently in ¾, one in 3/2; duple, one part; triple, two parts; second duple section repeats; triple, two parts). The repeat instructions for the music refer to not nine, not six, but five parts – this seems to connect neither with the text of the dance nor the music as written. The prima parte is to be played seven times, thus this corresponds with the whole of the first duple section and with the first seven ‘verses’ of the dance. The seconda parte is played twice, the terza once, the quarta twice, and the quinta parte once. Assuming that the quinta parte is everything after the last duple section, though divided in two by a bar line, then one playing of the quinta parte fits neatly with the steps of the tenth part of the text – the mutazione in galiarda. So what of the middle three parts? Caroso’s Barriere have between each mutazione a short duple section which has no steps assigned, and which is very like the repeated short duple sections in Negri’s music. My solution is that this duple section is the terza parte, and that therefore the seconda parte is the whole first triple section, and corresponds to the eighth part of the dance, and the quarta parte is the whole second triple section, and corresponds to the ninth part of the dance. This differs from Caroso’s scheme only in that the duple terza parte is not also played at between the end of the prima and the seconda – but in a sense it is, as it is identical to the final phrase of the prima parte.

About this translation: 

Translated April 2005, from Le Gratie d’Amore, transcript downloaded from SCA dance page. Steps names (in italics) that begin with a capital have been expanded from Negri’s abbreviations. Those without initial capitals were written out in full in his text. Number is not always clear in the abbreviated steps – singular or plural are by context.



by the author, danced by two, and by more people.

In honour of that illustrious lady, Lady Antonia Somaglia e Visconte.



The Gentleman stands at the right hand of the lady, and turning face to face he takes with his left the right hand of the lady, as shown in the figure, and they do the Riverenza grave, two Continenze to the left and to the right, and with two Seguiti ordinarii the Gentleman goes into the place of the lady, and she turns herself to the right and goes in his place, and they take ordinary hands and the do the Riverenza grave.

SECOND PART. [and third and fourth]

They do together with the left going forwards two Puntati and four Passi gravi, one Seguito and one Ripresa with the right, and two Continenze going to the foot of the hall, and turning to face the head of the hall that first two Puntati, and Passi, and Seguito, and Ripresa, and Continenze they will do three times, as was said, the second time they turn to the head of the hall, the third time they go to the foot of the hall but changing the two Continenze they will do the Riverenza grave, and these are the three parts.


They release the hand and take the right hand, and they do two Puntati and release and the Gentleman goes to the head of the hall, and turning to the left they do the same, another Passo as was done beginning on the left; the lady in this time turns by the said hand and does another time and returning to face they do the Riverenza together.

SIXTH PART. [and seventh]

The Gentleman does with the left four fioretti Fioretti Spezzati forwards [a rimpetto] of the lady. Then [doppo – then or double?] rises with a little hop on the left foot [saltino’l pie], and turning the right flank, does the meza Riverenza with that foot, doffing his hat; then he rises with the same little hop, and does the meza Riverenza with the left, and turning that flank they do four Fioretti Spezzati flankingly forwards; they do together the Riverenza grave, and the lady does the same, as the Gentleman did and they do then the Riverenza together. Note that this part is done twice because it serves for the sixth and seventh.

EIGHTH PART. Variation of the tune.

They do together two Doppii one to the left, by the flank with the same feet, and another to the right with the said feet two Puntati forwards, the one against/opposite the other, two Seguito one backwards, the other forwards, touching both the hands of the lady with a small bow and they do four Fioretti Spezzati backwards flankingly two Seguiti turning around to the left, and they do the same Doppii and the Passi and the Seguiti as were done, and the lady touches both the hands of the gentleman, and they do the Fioretti Spezzati backwards, and the Riverenza.

Variation of the tune


They do together facing with the left four Fioretti Spezzati and four Continenze brevi in saltino, the first to the left the gentleman giving/putting over the hands of the lady; the second the lady gives/puts over the hand of him, the third, he gives with the right, the other/next with the left, and they do two Continenze gravi [poscia] taking right hands, and they do the Riverenza grave.

TENTH PART. Variation of the tune as a galliard.

Having released hands they do together four Seguiti in gagliarda with the left, going backwards flankingly; then they do four Seguiti two turning to that hand and, and two turning to the right; and turning to face, they do four Fioretti Spezzati facing flankingly, and [contrapassandosi un poco] they do two Seguiti the lady turns to the right, and goes to the lead of the hall, and the gentleman goes to the left, and goes and takes the hand, and they do the Riverenza together putting and end to the dance.

The tune and the lute tablature for the Barriera. The first part is done seven times, the second twice, the third once, the fourth twice, and the fifth part once, and end the dance.