The Carole: A Study of a Medieval Dance  book cover
1st Edition

The Carole: A Study of a Medieval Dance

ISBN 9781138252011
Published October 17, 2016 by Routledge
172 Pages

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Book Description

The carole was the principal social dance in France and England from c. 1100 to c. 1400 and was frequently mentioned in French and English medieval literature. However, it has been widely misunderstood by contributors in recent citations in dictionaries and reference books, both linguistic and musical. The carole was performed by all classes of society - kings and nobles, shepherds and servant girls. It is described as taking place both indoors and outdoors. Its central position in the life of the people is underlined by references not only in what we might call fictional texts, but also in historical (or quasi-historical) writings, in moral treatises and even in a work on astronomy. Dr Robert Mullally's focus is very much on details relevant to the history, choreography and performance of the dance as revealed in the primary sources. This methodology involves attempting to isolate the term carole from other dance terms not only in French, but also in other languages. Mullally's groundbreaking study establishes all the characteristics of this dance: etymological, choreographical, lyrical, musical and iconographical.

Table of Contents

Contents: Introduction; The history of the term carole since c.1400; The etymology of the word carole; The earliest citations of the term carole and the relationship of carole to chorus and chorea; Theories about the choreography; Reconstruction of the choreography; Carole, bal, danse, tresche; The lyrics; The music; The iconography; Carola in Italian; Carole in Middle English; Appendices; Bibliography; Index.

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Robert Mullally graduated with a BA in English Literature and French from University College Dublin. He also holds a PhD from King's College London. He took up a career in language teaching at the same time as he developed an interest in Historical Dance, which he studied with Wendy Hilton. He then specialized in research in French and English dances of the Middle Ages and Renaissance together with related topics, and has had articles published in a large number of academic journals, both British and Continental. In addition he has contributed on dance to both the OED and The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians.


A Yankee Book Peddler UK Core Title for 2011 'Robert Mullally’s book includes an excellent collection of primary material and new ways of interpretation. His theories and analyses are thought provoking and one hopes they will form the basis for continued dialogue about the details of early dance. The field of early dance is the richer for this contribution.' Music and Letters 'Mullally’s thoroughness in combing his material and his pragmatism in evaluating it will ensure it a promising shelf ...' Speculum