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A dansa (Old Occitan [ˈdansa, ˈdaⁿsa]), also spelt dança, was an Old Occitan form of lyric poetry developed in the late thirteenth century among the troubadours. It is related to the English term "dance" and was often accompanied by dancing. A closely related form, the balada or balaresc, had a more complex structure, and is related to the ballade but unrelated to the ballad. Both terms derive from Occitan words for "to dance": dansar and balar/ballar.

A dansa begins with a respos of one or two lines, whose rhyme scheme matches that of the first line or two of each subsequent stanza. The actual respos may have been repeated between stanzas, of which there were usually three, as a refrain. The few surviving melodies of dansas seem like incipient virelais. The verses of the dansa were sung by a soloist while the refrain was sung by a choir. A dansa lacking a vuelta is called a danseta.

In a balada each stanza is divided into three parts. The first part and second part are identical, each ending with the same rhyme as the first line of the poem. The third part of the stanza is identical to the refrain (refranh) in form. The refrain, which begins the song, is repeated after each stanza. In a balada the lines of the choir and the soloist could mix.

A desdansa (or desdança) was the opposite of a dansa, not in form but in content. Whereas a dansa had joyful lyrics and lively music, a desdansa was sad and lamenting, much like a planh designed for dance. The desdansa is defined, and exemplified, in the Cançoneret de Ripoll.


  balada   baladeta   dansa   hybrid genre

Composer[1] Incipit (i.e. title) Date[2] Notes
Guiraut d'Espaigna Be volgra, s'esser pogues
Guiraut d'Espaigna Domna, si tot no.us es preza
Guiraut d'Espaigna Gen m'auci
Guiraut d'Espaigna Ges ancara
Guiraut d'Espaigna Lo fi cor qu'ie.us ai Sometimes called a balada or dansa
Guiraut d'Espaigna No posc plus sofrir
Guiraut d'Espaigna Na Ses Merce
Guiraut d'Espaigna Per amor soi gai A pastorela in the form of a dansa
Guiraut d'Espaigna Pos ses par
Guiraut d'Espaigna Sa gaja semblansa
Guiraut d'Espaigna Si la bela que.m plai no.m plai
Guiraut d'Espaigna Si.l dous jois d'amor
Guiraut d'Espaigna Si no.m secor domna gaja
Paulet de Marseilla Bela domna plazens, ai
Cerveri de Girona A la pluga a.l vent iran A balada that Serveri labels an espingadura
Cerveri de Girona Com es ta mal ensenyada A dansa that Serveri labels a peguesca
Cerveri de Girona No.l prenatz los fals marit iana delgada A balada that Serveri labels a viadeyra
Cerveri de Girona Pus on vey leys
Cerveri de Girona Si voletz que.m laix d'amar
Cerveri de Girona Tant ay el cor d'alegrança A sirventes–dansa
Cerveri de Girona Tot can cors dezira
Uc de Saint Circ Una danseta voil far
A l'entrada del temps clar
Amors m'art con fuoc ab flama Perhaps a fragmentary canso
Ara l'ausetz Perhaps a parody (parodique) of a dansa
Coindeta sui, si cum n'ai greu cossire
D'amor m'estera ben e gent
Mort m'an li semblan que ma dona.m fai
Plazens plasers, tant vos am e.us dezir Consists of a single cobla
Pos la dousor del temps gay
Pos qu'ieu vey la fuella Two coblas, perhaps a single canso
Pres soi ses faillencha Two coblas, perhaps a single canso
Quant lo gilos er fora
S'anc vos
Se nus hom per ben servir
Si tot chantar non m'enansa
Tant es gay'es avinentz A fragment: two coblas, probably of a dansa, perhaps a canso


  1. ^ A blank cell indicates the piece is anonymous.
  2. ^ A blank cell indicates the date of composition is unknown.


  • Aubrey, Elizabeth (1996). The Music of the Troubadours. Indianapolis: Indiana University Press. ISBN 0-253-21389-4.
  • Riquer, Martí de (1964). Història de la Literatura Catalana, vol. 1. Barcelona: Edicions Ariel.