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Songs of the Women Trouvères

Songs of the Women Trouvères

Copyright Date: 2001
Published by: Yale University Press
Pages: 304
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  • Book Info
    Songs of the Women Trouvères
    Book Description:

    This groundbreaking anthology brings together for the first time the works of women poet-composers, or trouvères, in northern France in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. Refuting the long-held notion that there are no extant Old French lyrics by women from this period, the editors of the volume present songs attributed to eight named female trouvères along with a varied selection of anonymous compositions in the feminine voice that may have been composed by women. The book includes the Old French texts of seventy-five compositions, extant music for eighteen monophonic songs and nineteen polyphonic motets, English translations, and a substantial introduction.

    eISBN: 978-0-300-13375-2
    Subjects: Music

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-x)
    (pp. xi-xii)
  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xiii-xiv)
    (pp. xv-xvi)
    (pp. xvii-xviii)
  7. Introduction: The Case for the Women Trouvères
    (pp. 1-72)

    We bring together here the songs of all medieval women whose names are recorded in the rubrics or tables of contents of various Old French manuscripts as composers of songs or as participants injeux-partisandtensons(debate poems). The songs by women whose names are known are relatively fewin number, but there were undoubtedly many more women composers, and whereas their names are lost to us, some of their songs are probably still extant, though bereft of proper attribution. Accordingly, we have chosen to include a generous sampling of anonymous works—chansons de femme(women’s songs),rondeaux,and motets...

  8. Voices in Dialogue: Jeux-partis and Tensons
    (pp. 73-113)

    The jeu-parti is a lyric dialogue between two poet-musicians. The first speaker uses the opening stanza to offer two contradictory solutions to a dilemma—the meaning ofpartiris “to divide”—and to set the rhyme scheme and metric pattern of the song. The respondent is invited to choose one alternative, and the initiator of the debate is committed to defending the remaining position. The two participants then alternate stanzas in expounding their reasons. The song normally comprises six strophes—three for each speaker—and two envois in which each of the participants appeals to a judge to validate his...

  9. Voices in Monologue: Chansons
    (pp. 114-178)

    The courtly chanson d’amour, labeledgrans chansin manuscriptI(from the first quarter of the fourteenth century), is lauded by Dante as the supreme poetic form (De vulgari eloquentia[ca. 1305] 2.8). Normally composed of five stanzas followed by an envoi, the genre treats a single subject, fin’amors—the true, perfect, refined love elaborated by the troubadours—using a set of fixed vocabulary and motifs (see “Fin’amors and the Women Trouvères,” in the introduction to this book).

    La froidor ne la jalee

    Ne puet mon cors refroidir,

    Si m’ait s’amor eschaufee,

    Dont plaing et plor et sospir;

    Car toute me...

  10. A Circle of Voices: Rondeaux
    (pp. 179-187)

    The rondeau, also commonly designatedrondelandrondet a carole,is a lyric form characterized by its density and circularity. Typically, it consists of a single eight-line stanza, which normally opens and closes with a two-line refrain that comprises two rhymes corresponding to two melodic phrases; in addition to framing the rondeau, the refrain is also partially interpolated within it and thus constitutes five of the song’s eight lines. A rondeau’s melody and rhyme scheme are those of its refrain; hence, the metric scheme of a rondeau can be represented by the formulaABaAabAB,its melody byABAAABAB.This structure...

  11. Voices in Polyphony: Motets
    (pp. 188-252)

    The Old French polyphonic motet is a complex genre whose individual parts, both text and music, maintain a certain amount of independence, even while they are woven together by counterpoint and an overall triple meter. This metrical regularity is based on the rhythmic “modes” described by thirteenth-century music theorists. These regular patterns of long and short notes prevail throughout a piece and help give it its structure, and the tenors adhere to them more strictly than the upper voices. Mode 1 (as in the tenors of motet nos. 55, 56, 59, and 68) consists of a simple alternation of quarter...

    (pp. 253-256)
  13. Bibliography
    (pp. 257-274)
  14. Index
    (pp. 275-283)