Page:A Dictionary of Music and Musicians vol 3.djvu/597

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page needs to be proofread.


��SONG.

��SONG.

��585

��I

��them, but their prime was past when the Troubadour Academy of Toulouse was founded for the culture and preservation of their art. That Academy, known as "The Seven Main-

iners of the Gay Science ' was founded in the year 1320, and a few years later was visited by Petrarch.

Some strong impulse was evidently given to the human mind in Europe towards the close of the nth century, and the songs of the Troubadours, like the numerous schools of philo- sophy which illustrated the I2th century, were fruits of an awakened ardour for intellectual pursuits. It was not unnatural that in Lan- guedoc and Provence the new life should espe- cially manifest itself in music and verse, for the circumstances of those provinces were favourable to the development of sentiment and imagination. The leisure that is bred of peace and plenty was to be found there, for the country was prosperous and comparatively undisturbed by internal war- fare. Its climate was sunny, and its people prone to gaiety and luxury. The spirit of the age of chivalry had refined their manners, and their flexible and melodious language the Langue d'Oc or Romance tongue was admir- ably fitted for lighter forms of poetic compo- sition. The Proven9al Troubadours were thus able to invent a variety of metrical arrange- ments, perfectly new to Europe. As might have been expected from their southern temperament and the customs of that chivalrous time, their effusions were principally love-songs. Satires, and panegyrics, exhortations to the crusade, and religious odes came to be intermingled with amatory poems ; but love, which first inspired the song of the Troubadour, ever remained its favourite theme. The very names by which different classes of songs were distinguished reveal their origin. In the pastourelle the poet was feigned to meet and woo a shepherdess. The alba and serena, morning and evening songs, were obviously aubades and serenades. The tensons, or contentions, were metrical dia- logues of lively repartee on some disputed point of gallantry. And the servente was of course an address of the devoted lover to his mistress. To this last form of composition, which was also much employed in satire, a special celebrity belongs from the fact that its metre the terza rima or rhyme of alternate lines was adopted by Dante for his 'Divina Commedia,' and by Petrarch in his ' Trionfi.' To the Troubadours likewise may be ascribed the canzo and canzone, the soula (solatium, soulagement}, a merry amusing song, and the lai (lay), which was wont to be suffused with melancholy. The invention of the Troubadours was not less fertile in dance-songs, combining solo and chorus. Such were the famous carol or rondet de carol (Lat. chorea), and the espringerie or jumping dance. From the same source sprang the ballata, or ballad, which, as its name implies, was also a dance song.

During their palmy era, the Troubadours would seem to have been for the most part

��men of gentle birth and high rank ; and there was no reward which they would deign to receive for their works but fame and the ap- plause of the ladies to whom their homage wae paid. At first, perhaps, they sang their own verses ; but the functions of the poet and the singer soon became distinct. Hence a class ot professional musicians came to be attached to the retinue of princes and nobles, and they sang the songs of their own lords or other composers. They were known as 'Jongleurs' or ' Chanteors ' ; or if their sole business was to be instrumental accompanyists of dances, they were called ' Estrumanteors.' To the musical accomplishments out of which their profession arose, the Jongleurs soon added other modes of popular diversion, such as juggling and acro- batic feats, and they were of course paid for the entertainment which they gave. It was their habit also to wander from country to country, and court to court. Inferior, there- fore, as the Jongleur was to the Troubadour, the celebrity of the latter depended much on the former, and we can understand the earnest- ness with which Pierre d'Auvergne and other Troubadours entreated their Jongleurs not to alter their verses and melodies.

The rise of the Troubadours proper in southern France was quickly followed by the appearance of a corresponding class of versifiers in northern France and in Spain. In northern France they were called 'Trouveres,' and they wrote in the Langue d'Oil. There was less gaiety about the northern Troubadours than about the southern, but in other respects the resemblance between them was very close. The 'Men^trier' or 'Ministre!' of the north corresponded to the Jongleur of the south ; but the MenStrier seems to have attained and kept a higher standard of culture and taste than the Jongleur. Indeed several poets of mark were Menetriers. At the courts of our own Norman kings the Trouvere's art was held in honour. Henry I. was a votary of literature ; Henry II. studiously encouraged poetry; and Richard Cceur de Lion was him- self a Trouvere.

Among illustrious Troubadours or Trouveres of the 1 2th and i$th centuries whose names survive, there were (besides William Duke of Guienne, and Richard I.) Pierre Rogier ; Bernart de Ventadour ; Bertran de Born ; Ar- naut Daniel; Guirant de Borneil; the Chatelain de Coucy; Blondel des Nerles; Thibaut de Champagne, King of Navarre, etc. Many of their melodies have come down to us. The earliest are stiff, but the flowing grace and ease of the later compositions indicate a rapid im- provement. Even about so old a piece as the Chatelafti de Coucy's famous 'Quant le rossignol' there is a charm of pretty sentiment, but its merit is inferior to that of Thibaut's ' L' Autrie'r par la matinee.' We cite them both as il- lustrations of Troubadour music. 1

i Burney and Perne put these examples into modern notation, and where they differ, Burney 's are the small notes. See Ambros, 'Ge- schichte,' i'.. 224-228.

�� �