Category Archives: speculative musicology

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:

Putting a tune to a tuneless song

Gace song in N
Gace’s melody in MS N

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