Music at Court - Bedford/St. Martin`s

Chapter 5
The Middle Ages
Music at Court
Key Terms
Strophic form
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
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 welleducated 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
There were no recordings in 1190
We’ll never know for sure!
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