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Chapter 3 - Court and Cloister in Aquitaine and Occitania

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  27 April 2023

Helen Deeming
Affiliation:
Royal Holloway, University of London
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Summary

The music in this chapter comes from a large area of what is now Southwest France, in which Occitan (or the langue d‘oc) was the principal vernacular language. From the network of courts and their noble rulers came the culture of the troubadours, poet-composers whose love songs in Occitan constitute the first large body of medieval vernacular literature to be written down. We explore the lives of a range of troubadours, considering the various positions they occupied in courtly society, and examine how the conventions and practicalities of courtly life informed the literary theme of ‘courtly love’ that they cultivated. The contemporary tradition of Latin song and polyphony from monasteries in the same area is then discussed. We look at the changes in Latin poetry that have been described as nova cantica (‘new song’), and the polyphonic techniques of Aquitanian composers. Lastly, the connections between these two traditions are charted, and a range of shared contexts, themes, and approaches are brought to light.

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Chapter
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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2023

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References

Further Reading

Egan, Margarita (trans.), The Vidas of the Troubadours (New York and London, 1984).Google Scholar
Golden, Rachel May, ‘Across Divides: Aquitaine’s New Song and London, British Library, Additional 36881’, in Manuscripts and Medieval Song: Inscription, Performance, Context, ed. Deeming, Helen and Leach, Elizabeth Eva (Cambridge, 2015), 5878.Google Scholar
Golden, Rachel May, Mapping Medieval Identities in Occitanian Crusade Song (New York, 2020).Google Scholar
Grier, James, ‘Early Polyphony’ in The Cambridge History of Medieval Music, volume 2, ed. Everist, Mark and Kelly, Thomas Forrest (Cambridge, 2018), 801–33 (see especially pp. 817–25).Google Scholar
Llewellyn, Jeremy, ‘Nova Cantica’ in The Cambridge History of Medieval Music, volume 1, ed. Everist, Mark and Kelly, Thomas Forrest (Cambridge, 2018), 147–75.Google Scholar
Paterson, Linda, Singing the Crusades (Cambridge, 2018).Google Scholar
Rosenberg, Samuel, Switten, Margaret, and Le Vot, G., Songs of the Troubadours and Trouvères: An Anthology of Poems and Melodies (New York and London, 1998).Google Scholar
Werf, H. van der and G. A. Bond (eds), The Extant Troubadour Melodies: Transcriptions and Essays for Performers and Scholars (Rochester, 1984).Google Scholar

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