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Music and Philosophy in the Middle Ages

My chapter in the Oxford Handbook of Western Music and Philosophy has just appeared.

BL, Harley 4335, French translation of Boethius’ Consolation of Philosophy

This large book project is now out and my contribution forms chapter 7 and covers music and philosophy in the Middle Ages. OUP hasn’t given me any sort of access that I can post here, sadly, so I hope most of you have institutional access.

In short, the chapter outlines some of the varied relationships between music and philosophy in the Middle Ages. As one of the disciplines of the mathematical quadrivium, musica concerns issues of acoustics but the notation and ontology of music additionally relate to grammar, logic, and rhetoric. Furthermore, music is related to the boundaries between human and non-human animals and overlaps with, while not being completely subsumed by, sonic practices, something I cover in a subsection called ‘Unsound Studies’, which encapsulates some of my problems with Sound Studies’s treatment of historical materials!

Medieval music was also implicated in writings on ethics, which give evidence of music’s role in gendered and political identity formation, which I treat here a little bit. Finally, the chapter considers what sort of knowledge musical knowledge was in the Middle Ages and why modern thinking might struggle with various aspects of music’s relation to philosophy in this period.

Full reference:

Leach,  Elizabeth Eva. ‘The Middle Ages.’ Chap. 7 In The Oxford Handbook of Western Music and Philosophy, edited by Tomás McAuley, Nanette Nielsen, Jerrold Levinson, with Ariana Phillips-Hutton as Associate Editor, pp. 137-56. New York: Oxford University Press, 2020.

DOI: 10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199367313.013.8

What can we know from ‘unnotated’ estampies?

My essay on the estampies of the Oxford manuscript Douce 308 has just been published in a collection entitled Music and Instruments of the Middle Ages: Essays in Honour of Christopher Page, Edited by Tess Knighton and David Skinner.

The estampie is usually thought of as an instrumental genre, but the ones in Douce 308 survive as extensive (and complicated) poetic texts. My essay attempts to glean what we can about their musical form from these unnotated and unique traces (none of the Douce 308 estampies has any concordances). I argue, ultimately, that these vocal estampies are closer to the surviving notated instrumental versions that people have previously believed.

A full listing of the other contents of the volume can be seen on the Boydell and Brewer site and there’s a discount available on order for a fixed period via the pdf below:

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. Continue reading “Vernacular song (list A) lecture 6”

Vernacular song (list A) lecture 5

A brief overview of how medieval vernacular songs might inform and be informed by the social contexts that produced and consumed them.

Podlecture 5: Songs, singers, and society

Suggested select reading on political and religious organisation and conflict

  • Coss, Peter. “The Origins and Diffusion of Chivalry.” In A Companion to Chivalry, edited by Robert W. Jones and Peter Coss. 7-38. Woodbridge: Boydell, 2019.
  • Galvez, Marisa. The Subject of Crusade: Lyric, Romance, and Materials, 1150-1500. Chicago: Chicago University Press, 2020.
  • Harvey, Ruth E. “Joglars and the Professional Status of the Early Troubadours.” Medium Aevum 62 (1993): 221-41.
  • Lee, Charmaine. “Richard the Lionheart: The Background to Ja nus homs pris.” Chap. 8 In Literature of the Crusades, edited by Simon Thomas Parsons and Linda M. Paterson. 134-50. Woodbridge: Boydell, 2018.
  • O’Sullivan, Daniel E. Marian Devotion in Thirteenth-Century French Lyric. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2005.
  • Paterson, Linda M. The World of the Troubadours: Medieval Occitan Society, c.1100-c.1300. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995.
  • Paterson, Linda. Singing the Crusades: French and Occitan Lyric Responses to the Crusading Movements, 1137-1336. Woodbridge: Boydell, 2018.
  • Reynolds, Susan. Fiefs and Vassals. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1994.

On gender, desire, and subjectivity

  • Bloch, R. Howard. Medieval Misogyny and the Invention of Western Romantic Love. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1991.
  • Boynton, Susan, ‘Women’s Performance of the Lyric Before 1500’. In Medieval Woman’s Song. Anne L. Klinck and Anne Marie Rasmussen, eds., 47-65; 219-23. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2002.
  • Bruckner, Matilda Tomaryn. ‘Fictions of the Female Voice: The Women Troubadours’, Speculum, 67/4 (1992), 865-91.
  • Bruckner, Matilda, Laurie Shepard, and Sarah White, eds. and trans. Songs of the Women Troubadours. New York: Garland: 2000.
  • Coldwell, Maria V. ‘Jongleuresses and Trobairitz: Secular Musicians in Medieval France’. In Women Making Music: The Western Art Tradition, 1150-1950. Jane Bowers and Judith Tick, eds., 39-61. Urbana and Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 1987.
  • Dell, Helen. Desire by Gender and Genre in Trouvère Song. Gallica. Vol. 10, Cambridge: D.S. Brewer, 2008.
  • Doss-Quinby, Eglal, et al., eds. Songs of the Women Trouvères. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2001. [See especially the Introduction]
  • Gaunt, Simon. Gender and Genre in Medieval French Literature. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995.
  • Gravdal, Kathryn. ‘Metaphor, Metonymy, and the Medieval Women Trobairitz’, Romanic Review, 83 (1992), 411-26.
  • Green, D. H. Women and Marriage in German Medieval Romance. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009.
  • Jackson, William E. Reinmar’s Women: A Study of the Woman’s Song (“Frauenlied” and “Frauenstrophe”) of Reinmar Der Alte. German Language and Literature Monographs. Vol. 9, Amsterdam: John Benjamins, 1981.
  • Kay, Sarah. “Desire and Subjectivity.” In The Troubadours: An Introduction, edited by Simon Gaunt and Sarah Kay. 212-27. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999.
  • Paden, William D., ed. The Voice of the Trobairitz: Perspectives on the Women Troubadours. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1989.
  • Peraino, Judith Ann. Listening to the Sirens: Musical Technologies of Queer Identity from Homer to Hedwig. Berkeley and London: University of California Press, 2005.

TEST YOURSELF

Check you know what the following are:

  1. Albigensian crusade
  2. vassal
  3. banal lordship
  4. appanage
  5. hypergamy
  6. the outremer
  7. chivalry
  8. feudalism
  9. symbolic order
  10. imaginary

GO TO LECTURE 6

Vernacular song (list A) lecture 3

A brief introduction to the trouvères.

Podlecture 3: The Trouvères

General reading

Read the Grove Music Online entries on:

For further reading and an overview of the secondary literature, see:

  • Doss-Quinby, Eglal. The Lyrics of the Trouvères: A Research Guide (1970-1990). Garland Medieval Bibliographies.  New York and London: Garland, 1994.

Edition

  • Tischler, Hans. Trouvère Lyrics with Melodies: Complete Comparative Edition. Corpus Mensurabilis Musicae. 15 vols Neuhausen: American Institute of Musicology and Hänssler-Verlag, 1997.

On the music of the Trouvères

  • Epstein, Marcia Jeneth, ed. “Prions en chantant”: Devotional Songs of the Trouvères. Vol. 11, Toronto Medieval Texts and Translations. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1997.
  • Leach,  Elizabeth Eva. “Do Trouvère Melodies Mean Anything?”. Music Analysis 38, no. 1-2 (2019): 3-46.
  • Leach, Elizabeth Eva. “Imagining the Un-Encoded: Staging Affect in Blondel de Nesle’s Mes cuers me fait conmencier.” Early Music 48, no. 1 (2020): 29–40.
  • Mason, Joseph W. “Structure and Process in the Old French jeu-parti.” Music Analysis 38, no. 1-2 (2019): 47-79.
  • O’Neill, Mary. Courtly Love Songs of Medieval France: Transmission and Style in the Trouvère Repertoire.  New York: Oxford University Press, 2006.
  • O’Sullivan, Daniel E. “Editing Melodic Variance in Trouvère Song.” Textual Cultures 3, no. 2 (2008): 54-70.
  • Page, Christopher. “Listening to the Trouvères.” Early Music 25 (1997): 638-59.
  • Quinlan, Meghan. “Can Melodies be Signs? Contrafacture and Representation in Two Trouvère Songs.” Early Music 48, no. 1 (2020): 13-27.
  • Saltzstein, Jennifer. “Cleric-Trouvères and the Jeux-Partis of Medieval Arras.” Viator 43 (2012): 147-64.

On manuscripts:

  • Haines, John. “Aristocratic Patronage and the Cosmopolitan Vernacular Songbook: The Chansonnier du Roi (M-trouv.) and the French Mediterranean.” Chap. 4 In Musical Culture in the World of Adam de la Halle, edited by Jennifer Saltzstein. Brill’s Companions to the Musical Culture of Medieval and Early Modern Europe, 95-120. Leiden: Brill, 2019.
  • Huot, Sylvia. From Song to Book: The Poetics of Writing in Old French Lyric and Lyrical Narrative Poetry.  Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1987, chapter 2.

For digital images, see:

https://eeleach.blog/2012/01/17/the-wonders-of-gallica-some-troubadour-and-trouvere-sources/

Some important trouvères:

  1. Thibaut de Champagne, or use your Grove Online login
  2. Gace Brulé, or use your Grove Online login
  3. Blondel de Nesle, or use your Grove Online login
  4. Richard de Fournival, or use your Grove Online login
  5. Gautier d’Espinal, or use your Grove Online login
  6. Gautier de Coinci, or use your Grove Online login and see a list of his MSS here
  7. Moniot d’Arras, or use your Grove Online login
  8. Jehan Bretel, or use your Grove Online login
  9. Audefroi le Bastart, or use your Grove Online login
  10. Adam de la Halle, or use your Grove Online login

CONTINUE TO LECTURE 4


Vernacular Song (list A) lecture 2

This podlecture continues a discussion of the troubadours, looking at song themes and genres.

Podlecture 2: The Troubadours 2

Good general reading

  • Cheyette, Fredric L. Ermengard of Narbonne and the World of the Troubadours. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2001.
  • Paterson, Linda M. The World of the Troubadours: Medieval Occitan Society, c.1100-c.1300. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995.
  • Schulman, Nicole M. Where Troubadours Were Bishops: The Occitania of Folc of Marseille (1150-1231). London: Routledge, 2001.

Definitions of courtly love

  • Bloch, R. Howard. Medieval Misogyny and the Invention of Western Romantic Love. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1991.
  • Kay, Sarah. Subjectivity in Troubadour Poetry. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990.
  • Some history of the term ‘Courtly Love’ via Wikipedia, which has some useful links.
  • Lewis, C. S. The Allegory of Love. 1936. NY: Oxford University Press, 1958.

On the role of music

  • Aubrey, Elizabeth. ‘References to Music in Old Occitan Literature’, Acta Musicologica 61/2 (1989): 110–149.
  • Levitsky, Ann. ‘Song Personified: The Tornadas of Raimon de Miraval’, Mediaevalia 39 (2018): 17–57.
  • McAlpine, Fiona. ‘Authenticity and the “Auteur”: The Songs of Hugues de Berzé’, Plainsong and Medieval Music, 4 (1995), 1-12.
  • Peraino, Judith A. Giving Voice to Love: Song and Self-Expression from the Troubadours to Guillaume De Machaut.  New York: Oxford University Press, 2011.

As before (in podlecture 1):

TEST YOURSELF

Check you know who or what the following are:

  1. Fin’ amors or courtly love
  2. Andreas Capellanus and his The Art of Courtly Love
  3. Chrétien de Troyes
  4. vassalage
  5. canso
  6. sirventes
  7. joc-partit / partimen
  8. pastorela
  9. coblas doblas
  10. Ovid on Love

CONTINUE TO LECTURE 3

Vernacular song (list A) lecture 1

This page hosts the audio for the first of my six ‘podlectures’ on Vernacular Song for List A Compulsory Topics (final year exams) at Oxford, delivered in this form because of ongoing restrictions caused by the current pandemic. It also gives links to some further reading and things mentioned in the audio.

NB: These podlectures form only part of the Vernacular Song topic as taught at Oxford, which is significantly supplemented by additional teaching in tutorials that demand extensive reading, essays, and presentations.

Podlecture 1: The Troubadours 1

Good general reading

  • Akehurst, F. R. P. and Judith M. Davis, eds. A Handbook of the Troubadours. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1995.
  • Gaunt, Simon and Sarah Kay, eds. The Troubadours: An Introduction. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999.
  • Rosenberg, Samuel N., Margaret Switten, and Gérard Le Vot, eds. Songs of the Troubadours and Trouvères: An Anthology of Poems and Melodies. New York and London: Garland, 1998 [book contains a CD of some of the music].
  • Stevens, Butterfield and Karp, ‘Troubadours, Trouvères’, Grove Music Online (2001), https://doi.org/10.1093/gmo/9781561592630.article.28468.

Referring to individual troubadour songs

  • Pillet, Alfred, and Henry Carstens. Bibliographie der Troubadours. Halle (Saale): Max Niemeyer, 1933.

On the music

  • Aubrey, Elizabeth. The Music of the Troubadours. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 1996.
  • Switten, Margaret, ed. The Cansos of Raimon de Miraval: a Study of Poems and Melodies. Cambridge, MA, 1985.

Handy access to poems and translations

http://www.trobar.org/troubadours/

Information about recordings

http://www.medieval.org/emfaq/composers/trobador/

Information about manuscript images online

https://eeleach.blog/2012/01/17/the-wonders-of-gallica-some-troubadour-and-trouvere-sources/

TEST YOURSELF

Check you know what, who, or where these are:

  1. vida
  2. razo
  3. coblas dobla
  4. Occitan
  5. Jaufre Rudel, or, if you have a subscription, try Grove online
  6. Bernart de Ventadorn, or, if you have a subscription, try Grove online
  7. senhal, and, if you have good Italian and are feeling generous, why not translate this page for English Wikipedia as the best thing in English is paywalled on Grove Music Online.
  8. PC numbers
  9. Eleanor of Aquitaine
  10. Beaumont Palace, Oxford

CONTINUE TO PODLECTURE 2

File:Carta Occitania.pdf