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Claude Gervaise (ca. 1525-1583); FRA

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Very little is known with any certainty about the life of Claude Gervaise, despite his importance in sixteenth century French secular music. It's said that he served as a violist and chamber musician to kings François I and Henri II, but all that is known with any confidence is that Gervaise was active between roughly 1540 and 1558 as an editor for music publisher Pierre Attaignant and later Attaignant's widow, who took over the business. Gervaise supervised Books 3, 4, and 5 of Attaignant's Danceries, and he wrote Book 6 himself. This consists almost entirely of four-part dances, mainly pavanes, gaillardes, and various species of branles. His arrangements of other composers' dances have suggested to some musicologists that he had experience writing or arranging polyphonic vocal pieces. Gervaise is also credited with the first printed book of viol tablature in France, published before 1548 and again in 1554, but now lost.

© James Reel, All Music Guide
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  • Miscellaneous
  • Chamber Works
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