Fall 2020 Online

The Estampies and Danses Royales of the Manuscrit du Roi

Oct 6 - Dec 20, 2020


Course Details

6 sessions
Instructor: Dr. Mauricio Molina

The 13th-century music source known as the Manuscrit du Roi (Paris, Bibliothèque Nationale fonds français 844) contains the earliest extant collection of medieval instrumental music. The collection is comprised of eleven monophonic pieces copied in Franconian notation, and identified as estampies and dansas. The musical structures of these compositions closely correspond to those of the instrumental pieces described by the contemporary music theorist Johannes of Grocheio’s in his De musica (c. 1300) under the names stantipes and ductia. Grocheio’s discussion, the clarity of the music notation in Paris 844, and other related medieval sources supply us with enough information about the way these pieces were performed.

The aim of this online course is to study and transcribe these pieces from the original notation, to create a performance edition, and to explore their performance practice based on medieval conventions.


Course Methodology

Study of medieval information about the estampie and the ductia


Identification of their music structure, performance context, and their connection with other repertoires


Study of their music notation directly from the source


Transcription of all the pieces in the collection from the original notation (11 pieces in total)


Creation of a performance edition


Discussion about how to perform them (phrasing, ornamentation, instrumental accompaniment, “intervallic” and rhythmic accompaniment, and expression)


Composition of new ductias and estampies

Teaching Methodology
  • Instructional videos and recorded lectures produced for each session
  • Downloadable reading materials and exercises that support the videos and lectures
  • Biweekly Q&A Zoom meetings
  • Blogs where students can ask questions and share information
  • Personalized instructions in connection to submitted exercises
Duration and Frequency of the Course

The course is open from October through December. It comprises 6 lessons that will be posted once a week during the first 6 weeks (October 1st-November 15). Live Q&A sessions will be conducted biweekly through the first six weeks of the course and will be recorded so that students can access them at any time. Students can work at their own pace throughout the three months, with access to the pre-recorded video lessons, accompanying materials, and the course forums.


  • Broadband Internet connection / WIFI
  • External or internal webcam
  • External or internal Microphone
  • Speakers or headphones
  • Possibility of printing downloaded materials
  • Possibility of scanning your assignments




Dates & Duration

Oct 6 – Dec 20, 2020





English – Spanish

Open to

Musicians, musicologists, and people interested in Medieval music and the Middle Ages in general (with or without experience playing medieval musical instruments)


What Our Students Say

I enjoyed the course a lot and learned many new useful things about everything from historical context to performance practice. It opened my eyes to some new repertoires and added perspectives on some of the ones I already knew. I especially enjoyed the Improvisation class, because I think it made me understand medieval composition in a much better way. I’d recommend the course to anyone interested in understanding medieval music better and who want to work from the sources.

Gustav Olai - Sweden

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Matricúlate con tiempo, las plazas para los cursos son limitadas.

The International Course of Medieval Music Besalú offers singers and instrumentalists the possibility of studying the repertoires of monodic and polyphonic music composed between the 11th and 13th centuries.

With the support of: