Ulsamer Collegium biography
Well known for their rendition of basse danse, which are
Monophonic songs based on a tenor cantus firmus; the length of the choreography was often derived from popular chansons. In performance, 3 or 4 instrumentalists would improvise the polyphony based on this tenor. In others, multiple parts were written, though in the style of the day choices regarding instrumentation were left to the performers. Most famous, perhaps, are the Basse Danses assembled in 1530 by Pierre Attaingnant that remain today in "The Attaingnant Dance Prints", which included parts for four voices which were typically improvised upon by adding melodic embellishment (as Attaingnant rarely included such ornamentation, with occasional exceptions such as "Pavin of Albart", an embellishment upon "Pavane 'Si je m'en vois'"). Basse danses from this collection have been revisited and recorded by various ensembles including the Josef Ulsamer & Ulsamer Collegium. Most basse danses consisted of a binary form with each section repeated, such as the "No. 1: Basse Danse" from the publication "Danseries a 4 parties" by Pierre Attaingnant, published in 1547.