Courtly Love Songs of Medieval France: Transmission and Style in Trouvére Repertoire

By: Mary O'Neill

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This book is the first full-length study of the courtly love songs of the trouvère to address the central musical problems of the repertoire as a whole, embracing source studies, interpretation, historiography, and analysis. The argument of the book revolves around three axes, each of which is essential to the appreciation of the others: problems concerning the extant manuscript tradition; the crucial role of orality; and stylistic changes and plurality in thereperotire. For the first time, a full overview of the sources and notation is undertaken. This reveals the idiosyncrasies of individual manuscripts but, more importantly, it identifies two basic phases in the manuscript tradition. The study of melodic variants reveals the performance art that lies at the heart of the courtly grand chant; processes and techniques of variation are examined, bringing us to a closer understanding of the tenets of the melodic art of the early trouvères. Aclose study of select trouvères from the different generation reveals stylstic change and plurality, particularly in the melodic art which in some respects was less prescribed than the poetic texts. Consequently the courtly songs of the trouvères truly come alive in this book.
Publication Date:
12 / 01 / 2006

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