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This reconstruction, and the associated discussion and music, are by Patrick Bowman (Ludwig von Regensburg). Used here with permission.

ss cc d, Volta del Gioioso, R

all dancers turn 90 degrees to left, so they are in single file

ss dd r(right) R

6 saltarelli tedeschi, r(left)

all dancers turn to right - side by side again, they take hands

3 riprese in gallone (diagonally forwards) to right; 3 to left;  volta del gioioso, cc

4 saltarelli tedeschi, meza volta, rr, R

4 tempi of saltarelli (4 slow or 8 fast), meza volta, r left, volta del gioioso, R




Ludwig von Regensburg (Patrick Bowman)

Introductory Notes

Caterva is a 15th Century Italian Bassadanza for three, composed by Guglielmo. This dance has a long sequence to remember and a large step vocabulary by the standards of this repertoire. It includes two steps from other misure. I have interpreted the meza volta as a step of its own, requiring one tempo. I have interpreted “four tempi of saltarelli” to mean do saltarelli for four tempi of music. The dancer can choose to do four slow saltarelli or eight fast saltarelli; I recommend practising the former, then learning to do the latter.


Step vocabulary

Bassadanza misura is here interpreted as being in 6/8: one tempo = 1 bar. This being compound duple, I shall count the beat as: 1 r a 2 r a.

Riverentia: Bend the left leg as if to go down on the left knee (as low as you like) then come up again. One riverentia takes one tempo.

Sempio: single step, always occurs in pairs: 1 2. Two sempii take one tempo.

Doppio: three steps: 1 a 2. One doppio takes one tempo.

Continenza: one step sideways, always occurs in pairs: 1 2. First step is to the left, second is to the right. Two continenze take one tempo.

Ripresa: three steps sideways (a sideways double): 1 a 2. One ripresa takes one tempo.

Ripresa in gallone: ripresa performed flankingly, i.e. diagonally forwards.

Volta tonda: This is the “Volta del Gioioso.” Do a full turn over the left shoulder with two sempii, starting on the right foot, and one ripresa. One volta tonda takes two tempi.

Saltarello tedescho: Three steps and a light stamp: 1 r a 2. The next step (whatever it is) takes place on the stamping foot. The start-stop nature of this step should provide an interesting contrast to the generally fluid nature of the bassadanza. One tedescho takes one tempo.

Meza volta: Turn over the right shoulder with two sempii starting with the left foot: 1 2. One meza volta takes one tempo.

Saltarello: A doppio with a hop:1 a 2 a. One saltarello takes either half or one tempo, at the dancers’ discretion.



The dancers start holding hands with the odd gender in the middle. They move forwards with two sempii, two continenze, one doppio, a volta tonda and a riverentia. They then form a single line (and drop hands); the easiest way to do this is for everyone to turn to the left, but more elaborate maneuvers can (and should) be considered. They progress in this fashion with two sempii, two doppii, a ripresa right (wrong footed) and a riverentia. Then six tedeschi and a riprese left. Take hands again (either turning to right or using some more complicated maneuver to form up) and move diagonally forwards with three riprese in gallone right, then three left, finishing with a volta tonda. Two continenze then four tedeschi, a meza volta, ripresa left then right and a riverentia. Now perform either four slow or eight fast saltarelli, a meza volta, ripresa left, volta tonda and finish with a riverentia.



Bassadanze can generally be broken into units according to a very loose pattern. Sections typically start with either two sempii or two riprese and two sempii, they contain some number of doppii, may contain some sideways moving steps or volte, then end with either a ripresa, a volta tonda or a riverentia or, occasionally, continentie. I consider this dance to be in six sections.

The first two are the most regular. The remainder forego the opening sempii and substitute doppii from other misure for the bassadanza doppii or, in the case of section four, riprese in gallone. Four of these sections (the first two and the last two) each end with a riverentia. The third ends with a ripresa. The fourth section has the unusual forward motion of six riprese in gallone and ends with two continentie


ss 2c d Vdg R

(single file)

ss 2d zr R

6t zl (take hands)

3zr (gallone) 3zl (gallone) Vdg 2c

4t mV zl zr R

4(8)s mV zl Vdg R