Vernacular song (list A) lecture 6

This lecture looks at the reception of monophonic medieval vernacular song, from the earliest manuscript copies to modern performances.

Podlecture 6: Reception

Information about manuscript images online

General reading on reception

  • Aubrey, Elizabeth. The Music of the Troubadours. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 1996.
  • Aubrey, Elizabeth. ‘Vernacular Song I: Lyric’ in The Cambridge History of Medieval Music, ed. Mark Everist and Thomas Forrest Kelly (Cambridge, 2018), vol. 1, 382–427.
  • Galvez, Marisa. Songbook: How Lyrics Became Poetry in Medieval Europe.  Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2012.
  • Haines, John. Eight Centuries of Troubadours and Trouvères: The Changing Identity of Medieval Music. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004.

Reading on the issue of rhythm

  • Haines, John. “The ‘Modal Theory’, Fencing and the Death of Pierre Aubry.” Plainsong and Medieval Music 6 (1997): 143-50.
  • Haines, John. “The Footnote Quarrels of the Modal Theory: A Remarkable Episode in the Reception of Medieval Music.” Early Music History 20 (2001): 87-120.
  • Lug, Robert. Semi-mensurale Informationen zur Liedrhythmik des 13. Jahrhunderts.  Stuttgart: ibidem, 2020. [NB: in German]
  • Maddrell, J. E. “Mensura and the Rhythm of Medieval Monophonic Song.” Current Musicology 10 (1970): 64-69.
  • Stevens, John. Words and Music in the Middle Ages: Song, Narrative, Dance and Drama, 1050-1350.  Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1986.
  • Tischler, Hans. “Rhythm, Meter, and Melodic Organization in Medieval Songs.” Revue belge de Musicologie / Belgisch Tijdschrift voor Muziekwetenschap 28-30 (1974-1976): 5-23.
  • van der Werf, Hendrik. “The “Not-so-precisely Measured” Music of the Middle Ages.” Performance Practice Review 1 (1988): 42-60
  • Wulstan, David. The Emperor’s Old Clothes: The Rhythm of Mediaeval Song. Wissenschaftliche Abhandlungen. Vol. 76, Ottawa: Institute of Mediaeval Music, 2001.

Referring to other aspects of performance

  • Ferreira, Manuel Pedro. “Andalusian Music and the Cantigas de Santa Maria.” Chap. 2 In Cobras e son: Papers on the Text, Music and Manuscripts of the ‘Cantigas de Santa Maria’, edited by Stephen Parkinson. 7-19. Oxford: Legenda, 2000
  • Haines, John. “The Arabic Style of Performing Medieval Music.” Early Music 29, no. 3 (2001): 369-78.
  • Huot, Sylvia. “Voices and Instruments in Medieval French Secular Music: On the Use of Literary Evidence for Performance Practice.” Musica Disciplina 43 (1989): 63-113.
  • McGee, Timothy J. The Sound of Medieval Song: Ornamentation and Vocal Style according to the Treatises. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1998.
  • Page, Christopher. “Music and Chivalric Fiction in France, 1150-1300.” Proceedings of the Royal Musical Association 111 (1984): 1-27.
  • Phillips, Jenna. “Singers Without Borders: a Performer’s Rotulus and the Transmission of Jeux Partis.” Journal of Medieval History 45, no. 1 (2019): 55-79.

Handy access to poems and translations

Information about recordings


Check you know what these are and can recognise the sound of the instruments in question:

  1. vielle, or use your Grove online subscription
  2. rebec, or use your Grove online subscription
  3. gittern, or use your Grove online subscription
  4. psaltery, or use your Grove online subscription
  5. citole, or use your Grove online subscription
  6. isosyllabic
  7. modal rhythm, or use your Grove online subscription
  8. crwth, or use your Grove online subscription

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