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.
The fifth song in the grands chants is unique to Douce 308 and is thus transmitted to us without any melody. However, its versification makes it possible to sing it to the tune of a song with a similar poetic structure.Continue reading “Putting a tune to a tuneless song”