Music 2115

Study Guide for Chapter 7

"Medieval Monophony"

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Latin Songs
Vernacular Songs
Trobadors & Trouvères
Eleanor of Aquitaine
Other Countries


Medieval Latin Songs--Identify the names & terms in blue, but don't memorize the subheadings

Venantius Fortunatus (c. 530-609)
Oldest known French medieval poet (not necessarily a composer)

Several hymns still used during Holy Week & Easter

Funeral songs & laments (7th-11th centuries)

Epitaphium sung at funerals

Planctus sung as a lament

Importnat historical documents

Cambridge manuscript

11th century

47 Latin songs, both sacred and secular

Various notations used

Hildegard von Bingen (1098-1179)

Nun, abbess, scholar, artist, poet, composer, visionary

77 poems with music survive

All monophonic, all original melodies, not based on chant

Ordo virtutum considered the earliest morality play

Carmina Burana (Songs from Benediktbeuren--a Benedictine monastery)

200 poems, some with music in staffless neumes
A few serious, but mostly love songs, obscene or blasphemous, parodies

Carl Orff, in 1937, composed new music to 25 poems

Written down in late 13th century; composed by

Goliards were religious dropouts--wandering & wanton

Wandering clerics, educated but with no employment

Medieval Vernacular Songs--Know these terms and understand where and when they were important

Chanson de geste
Long epic poem of heroic deeds, sung with improvised melody and simple accompaniment

Le Chanson de Roland, France's national epic, was the best known

Professional entertainer-performers

Jongleurs (Jugglers)
Wandering entertainers who sang and played among other things

Welcomed as carriers of news and gossip

Formed a guild in Paris in 1120; lasted until the 18th century

Both men and women

Ménestrels (Minstrels)

Musician-poets of slightly higher social status

More likely to have permanent employment

Performed songs written by aristocrats, or composed melodies for poems by aristocrats

Aristocratic poet-composers--Very important; memorize
Trobadors (Troubadours in French)
Located in Southern France and Aquitaine

Spoke and composed in the Provençal dialect

Active from the late 11th century to about 1225

Provençal society was destroyed by the Albegensian Crusade in the 1220s

Many trobadors fled to Spain or Northern Italy and influenced their poetry and music

Some 2,600 poems survive, only about 265 with melodies


Located in Northern France, especially around Paris

Spoke and composed in medieval French

Active in same time period as Trobadors, but lasted longer

Carried to England by Norman French conquerors

Richard the Lionhearted, son of Eleanor of Aquitaine, was a Trouvère; his minstral was Blondel

The last Trouvère was Adam de la Halle (c. 1245-c. 1306)

Some 4,000 poems survive, about 1,400 with melodies


The Germanic equivalent of the Trobadors and Trouvères


Women Trobadors active in the south (c.1145-c. 1225)

Around 18 are known by name, but biographies exist for fewer than half

Only one musical setting survives: A chantar mes al cor by Beatritz, Countess of Dia

Song forms--Understand the kinds of songs they wrote, but don't memorize these terms

Canso (chanson)--usually a serious poem of courtly love

Pastorela (pastourelle)--a story with a knight and a shepherdess

Alba (aube)--song of lovers who part at dawn

Lai--a long narrative poem

Balada or dansa--dance song about spring or love

Ronde--song to accompany a round (circle) dance

Estampie--instrumental dance form

The formes fixes of Medieval French poetry--Memorize these forms

Continued in use through the 14th and 15th centuries

Ballade (aabC)

Rondeau (ABaAabAB)

Virelai (AbbaA)

Eleanor of Aquitaine (1122-1202)--Know this material very well; important lady and important familiy
Granddaughter of Guillaume, 9th Count of Poitiers and Duke of Aquitaine, one of the first Trobadors, and daughter of Guillaume X, who supported the art but was not himself a Trobador

Inherited the fabulously rich province of Aquitaine on her father's sudden death in 1137, and was immediately married to Louis VII of France

She brought her court and her support of the arts with her

Their daughter Marie became Countess of Champagne and actively supported the arts

Their other daughter Alix became Countess of Chartres and did likewise

After divorcing Louis, Eleanor married Henry, Duke of Normandy and Count of Anjou and Maine, who became Henry II of England

Eleanor's court became a center of courtly love, developed in part to keep the knights under control when they were not in battle. Marie of Champagne continued the tradition

Their eldest son died unexpectedly, so their 2nd son, Richard the Lionhearted, a talented Trouvère, inherited the throne.

Their 3rd son, John Lackland, inherited the throne and was the "Bad King John" of Robin Hood fame

Their daughters carried their courts and the arts to other places as well

Medieval Spain--know which terms are associated with which countries in the following entries
In touch with Provenç and France, and influenced by them in the arts

Cantigas de Santa Maria ("Songs of Saint Mary," c. 1250-1280)

Prepared for King Alfonso X, the Wise, King of Castile and Léon

A prolog and 400 songs in mensural notation, using AbbaA form

Illuminations show many instruments in use at the time

Medieval Italy

200 13th century nonliturgical religious songs called laude ("praises") or laude spirituali ("spiritual praises") sung by wandering penitents and flagellants

Medieval Germanic Lands

Spielleute (wandering entertainers) were counterparts of jongleurs

Minnesänger (singers of courtly love) were aristocratic counterparts of trobadors and trouvères

Meistersings (master singers) were lower and middle class citizens who belonged to guklds that regulated and promoted the composition and performance of songs

The guilds were most active in the 14th-17th centuries, but still existed in the 19th; the last Meistersinger died in 1922

Richard Wagner's 19th century opera, Die Meistersänger von Nuremberg, was based on actual 16th century members of the guild

Surviving manuscripts contain words and music to some 16,000 monophonic songs

The Bar form (aab) was standard

Medieval England

Before the Norman Conquest (1066) the professional musicians were
Scops, who often had permanent employment, equivalent to the continental minstrals

Gleemen, wandering entertainers, equivalent to the continental jongleurs

After the Norman Conquest the aristocracy was Norman French, and English musicians did not imitate their music

The earliest songs in English are found in the 13th century

Instrumental Music--This is about all you need to know

The earliest notated music that has survived include dance pieces in a late 13th century Trouvère manuscript and a 14th century Italian manuscript, plus 6 pieces for keyboard (organ?) in the Robertsbridge Codex of c. 1325-1350
Dance pieces were called Estampie, Istampita, sometimes Ductia, and were typically made up of a number of puncta (repeated sections with a lot of internal repetition)

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