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Chapter 5 - Courts and Cities in Northern France

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  27 April 2023

Helen Deeming
Affiliation:
Royal Holloway, University of London
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Summary

The poetry and music of the trouvères in Northern France is the focus of Chapter 5. We explore the lives and music of Chrétien de Troyes, Adam de la Halle, Gautier de Coinci, Rutebeuf, and the female trouvère Gertrude of Dagsburg. We chart the ways in which the trouvères modelled themselves on the Occitan troubadours, translating their concept of courtly love, along with their song forms and genres, into an Old French linguistic context. We also consider some of the key differences between the two spheres, especially the increasingly urban - rather than courtly - environment in which the thirteenth-century trouvères worked, and their greater involvement in literary and musical production beyond songs, such as romances (romans) and other narrative poetry, and the French motet. The emergence of distinctive poetic-musical structures, known as the formes fixes, was another key feature of thirteenth-century French song, as was the phenomenon of refrains, or snippets of song, that were borrowed and quoted across a wide range of musical and literary genres.

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Chapter
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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2023

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References

Further Reading

Aubrey, Elizabeth, ‘Vernacular Song I: Lyric’ [see the sections on the trouvères], in The Cambridge History of Medieval Music, volume 1, ed. Everist, Mark and Kelly, Thomas Forrest (Cambridge, 2018), 382427.Google Scholar
Butterfield, Ardis, Poetry and Music in Medieval France: From Jean Renart to Guillaume de Machaut (Cambridge, 2002).Google Scholar
Fassler, Margot E., Gothic Song: Victorine Sequences and Augustinian Reform in Twelfth-Century Paris, second edition (Notre Dame, IN, 2011).Google Scholar
Hartt, Jared C. (ed.), A Critical Companion to Medieval Motets (Woodbridge, 2018).Google Scholar
Huot, Sylvia, Allegorical Play in the Old French Motet: The Sacred and the Profane in Thirteenth-Century Polyphony (Stanford, CA, 1997).Google Scholar
Stevens, John, Words and Music in the Middle Ages: Song, Narrative, Dance and Drama, 1050–1350 (Cambridge, 1986).Google Scholar

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