The Miracles are full of references to music, for le grand chant courtois was as germane to Gautier's project as the courtly narratives with which he knew his audience to be familiar and which he set himself to assimilate and transcend.
Was not the enterprise of the Miracles itself a vast canticum novum in praise of Our Lady, a ‘new song’ inscribed in the tradition of Mariological writing as well as an echo of the Psalms? In such an endeavour the fiddle, widely known as the viele, doubles as a metaphor for poetic composition:
Or veil atant traire ma lire
Et atemprer veil ma vïele,
Se chanterai de la pucele
Dont li prophete tant chanterent
Et qui mil ans ains l'anoncerent
Qu'engenree ne nee fust
(1 Pr 2 56–61)
The Soissonnais poet-musician found an inspiring predecessor in Ildefonsus of Toledo, like Gautier a composer, who paid musical tribute to both Our Lady and his favourite saint, Leocadia, in musical forms like the sequence, conductus, hymn, and anthem:
De la pucele douce et sade,
De la pucele sainte et digne
Fist mainte sequence et mainte hymne.
(1 Mir 11 22–4)
Une antesne, Speciosa,
Qu'il meïsmes de li [sc. Leocade] faite eut
(1 Mir 11 122–3)
Maint soutil dit de li [sc. Mary] trova,
Maint biau conduit, mainte sequence.
(1 Mir 11 202–3)
In the last miracle of his collection Gautier joyously and with lyrical fervour evokes the salvific activity of collective singing, especially on Saturday nights, the highpoint of Marian celebrations, which evidently could be boisterous:
Chantonz, chantonz, clerc et clergesses,
Les samedis les beles messes
De la dame de paradys.
Chantonz, chantonz les samedis
Les deliteusez kyrïeles,
Les sequences plaisanz et beles,
A hautes vois et a haus tonz.
(2 Mir 32 217–23)
Such music has its celestial counterpart, which will be heard in paradise by those of Our Lady's devoted servants who ‘les hymnes, les kirïeles / Li chantent or les samedis’ (246–7), whilst all who enter Hell will be deprived ‘De biaus sonnez, de biax conduiz’ (252). Heavenly music of such beauty that ‘nel vos saroie faire entendre’ (1 Mir 36 39; description 53ff) is regularly evoked in the miracle tales. Entry to the next world, through the merciful intercession of Our Lady, is accompanied by music (1 Mir 19 364ff).