Chapter 5The Middle Ages Music at Court
Troubadours Trouvères Minnesingers alba pastourelle Strophic form Estampies Key Terms
Music at Court • Troubadour and Trouvère Songs • Noble French poet-composers—knights, princes, and kings • Troubadours from the south, trouvères from the north (Minnesingers in Germany) • First large body of notated secular songs • Songs about women, love, seduction, chivalry, death, the crusades, etc.
Bernart de Ventadorn • Lived c. 1135-1194 • One of the finest troubadour poets • His songs influenced other troubadours and trouvères • Humble background, but came to serve Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine when she was married to England’s King Henry II
Bernart, “La dousa votz” • Legato melody moves mostly by step • Based on a medieval mode (Mixolydian) • Metrical: feel of duple meter • Simple rhythms at moderate tempo • Homophonic: melody and accompaniment • Solo tenor voice and plucked string instrument • Words express joys and sorrows of earthly love
Bernart, “La dousa votz” • Strophic form: same music for each stanza • a a’ b pattern used within each stanza
How Did Early Music Sound? • Medieval notation indicated only pitches and (after c. 1200) rhythms • It did not indicate tempo, instrumentation, tone quality, dynamics, and so on • Early music performance has become an important area for scholarly research • Based on careful study of performance practices, modern performers make well-educated guesses how a work might have been performed
How Did Early Music Sound? • Score for “La dousa votz” provides pitches only for the melody; it does not provide rhythm or accompaniment • Where does the plucked string instrument come from? • Medieval art shows troubadours singing with instruments, so our performers created a plausible accompaniment based on old folk music practices
How Did Early Music Sound? • Did the singer really sound that way? • Did they perform the rhythms the way our singer did? • Did they use accompaniment for this song? • There were no recordings in 1190 • We’ll never know for sure!