Prions en Chantant

Prions en Chantant: Devotional Songs of the Trouvères

Edited and translated by Marcia Jenneth Epstein
Volume: 11
Copyright Date: 1997
Pages: 354
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.3138/j.ctt1287pwk
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    Prions en Chantant
    Book Description:

    An edition of largely anonymous trouvère devotional songs from the rich medieval French vernacular tradition, designed for both scholars and performers, from two late-13th-century manuscripts.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-5995-7
    Subjects: History, Religion

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-v)
  3. LIST OF TABLES
    (pp. vi-vi)
  4. Preface
    (pp. vii-viii)
  5. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-x)
    M.J.E.
  6. Manuscript Sigla
    (pp. xi-xii)
  7. ‘PRIONS EN CHANTANT’

    • 1 The Manuscript Sources of the Trouvère Songs as Visual Records
      (pp. 3-12)

      Before embarking on a thorough exploration of the trouvère devotional songs in their social, literary, and musical contexts, it is necessary to establish their identity as palaeographic documents. The manuscripts in which the songs of this edition are recorded, designated X and V, are primarily secular chansonniers, manuscripts that contain collections of songs. Both manuscripts are of late thirteenth-century provenance and were acquired by the Bibliotheque nationale in Paris during the nineteenth century. They appear in descriptive catalogues and collections compiled in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.¹ Most of the information given in these works, however, concerns the...

    • 2 The Trouvère Devotional Songs in the Context of Popular Culture
      (pp. 13-19)

      Among the extant corpus of approximately two thousand songs by the trouvères of thirteenth-century France is a small subgenre – some 10 per cent of the total number – with devotional texts. Their existence is not surprising: vernacular devotional songs were common throughout Europe, which was in the midst of what we now characterize as an ‘Age of Faith.’ The scene is easily set: crowds streaming through the portals of Notre-Dame de Paris on Easter morning, friars preaching in town squares, and housewives timing their recipes by the length of a paternoster. Preacher, priest, and poet, weaving tapestries of rhyme...

    • 3 The Texts
      (pp. 20-53)

      Devotional literature is usually written for didactic purposes. The trouvère devotional songs are no exception, but their purpose is achieved by somewhat unexpected means. The songs contain few accounts of biblical events, few paraphrases of liturgical Latin, and almost no mention of the church as a temporal or symbolic institution. What most of the songs offer is praise of Mary in two specific roles: as the mortal medium for the Incarnation and as the mediatrix who intercedes for souls on the Day of Judgment. Nearly every song ends with a personal prayer for salvation, phrased in terms that, though often...

    • 4 The Music
      (pp. 54-72)

      If the poetry of the vernacular devotional songs can reveal something of the faith shared by its authors and audience, the music is less easily read for signs of personal or cultural expression. The symbols of thirteenth-century musical notation yield few clues to the specific intentions of the composers at the time, nor can they indicate the emotional conditions that were evoked in audiences who listened to music of a particular style. The variables of performance – pitch, tempo, number of performers, improvisation, accompaniment or lack of it, age and gender of the singers, occasion and frequency of performance, and...

  8. Appendix A: Notational forms
    (pp. 73-74)
  9. Notes
    (pp. 75-84)
  10. Bibliography
    (pp. 85-90)
  11. THE SONGS

    • Introduction to the Edition
      (pp. 93-97)

      This work is not a definitive critical edition. Its contents are drawn from only two sources, which are dissimilar; one, manuscript X, is apparently a presentation copy, the other, manuscript V, is a somewhat puzzling collection compiled as a miscellany and produced for unknown purposes. As well, variant readings in texts and music are provided in this edition only selectively; this policy deserves – indeed requires – some explanation.

      No edition of music is complete within itself. It requires the efforts of a musician, at whatever level of skill, to bring its contents out into the air and make them...

    • List of Songs
      (pp. 98-100)
    • THE DEVOTIONAL SONGS OF MANUSCRIPTS X AND V
      (pp. 101-322)
  12. Appendix B: Additional Stanzas
    (pp. 323-328)
  13. Appendix C: Alternative Musical Notation
    (pp. 329-336)
  14. Title Index
    (pp. 337-338)
  15. General Index
    (pp. 339-340)
  16. Back Matter
    (pp. 341-341)