The sardana is a Catalan circle dance with special steps, which every Catalonian knows by heart. It’s a real important part of Catalan culture to learn how to dance on a sardana. De dance isn’t frantic or expressive, but proud and controlled. During the dance the dancers hold each other’s hands, which are kept alternately high and low at certain points in the music. The footwork is very important while dancing a sardana.
A conventional sardana contains two parts: the first part (Curts) is relatively short while the second part (Ilargs) is much longer. Both parts are repeated multiple times, introduced by a solo of the flabiol. Also in between the flabiol plays a short solo. At the end of the Ilargs, one can hear a “coda”: a more expressive and louder melody. During this coda the steps become more difficult and the dancers jump higher in the air then during the rest of the sardana. That’s why the coda is also being referred to as “the jumping”.
Next to the above-mentioned conventional sardana’s there’s also the so-called Obligada’s: sardana’s which seem to have the characteristics of a solo concerto. These pieces of music have a (usually very difficult) solo part for one or two instruments. An obligada is a very nice way for the musicians of a cobla to show their virtuosity and technical skills.
Over the years the sardana has developed very much. Starting with the lyrical sardana’s, for example those of composer Eduard Toldra (1895-1962), via the musically and technically much more difficult sardana’s by a.o. Joaquim Serra (1907-1957) to the “jazzy sounds” of the music of Jordi Pauli (*1969) and Jordi Molina (*1962). And that’s not where it ends: there are still new sardana’s being composed.