History, Facts and interesting information about Medieval music, specifically, Troubadours
Definition and description of the Troubadours: The Troubadours can be described as one of a school of poets who flourished from the eleventh to the thirteenth century, principally in Provence, in the south of France, and also in the north of Italy. They invented, and especially cultivated, a kind of lyrical poetry characterized by intricacy of meter and rhyme, and usually of a romantic, amatory strain.
Lute Playing Troubadour
There were several types of Medieval Musicians but the Minstrels and the Troubadours are the most famous. A troubadour was originally a travelling musician. The early Medieval Troubadours travelled from one village to the next and many also travelled abroad. Some travelled to the major cities of Europe whilst other Medieval Troubadours travelled to the Holy Land accompanying the people who went on Crusade. The travelling of the early Medieval Troubadours allowed them to spread the latest news. The themes of the songs sung by the Medieval Troubadours mainly dealt with Chivalry and Courtly love - romantic ballads. The troubadour would play for royalty, lords and nobles. The themes of the songs sung by the Medieval Troubadours also dealt with chivalry and courtly love but they also told stories of far lands and historical events.
Medieval Troubadours become the elite - The Trouveres
The role of the Medieval Troubadours changed to part of an elite society of royalty and nobles. These elite Medieval Troubadours originated as aristocratic poet and musicians of Provence, France. Travel in Medieval Times, prompted by the Crusades, led to a new and unprecedented interest in beautiful objects, elegant manners, poetry and music. Many Medieval Troubadours were nobles and knights who had joined the Crusades. The aristocratic Medieval Troubadours were poets who originated in the south of France where they wrote the lyrics in Provencal (langue d'oc). The Medieval Troubadours of the north of France wrote in French (langue d'oil) and were called called Trouveres. The poetry of the Medieval Troubadours and the trouvères was invariably linked with music. These elite Medieval Troubadours even included nobility such as the King of Navarre, the King of Spain and King Richard the Lionheart of England. Richard the Lionheart was the son of Eleanor of Aquitaine who was one of the greatest patrons of Music and the Medieval Troubadours of the Middle Ages.
Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine and the Medieval Troubadours
Eleanor of Aquitaine was the granddaughter of William IX of Aquitaine. Her grandfather was the first influential patron of the aristocratic music of the Medieval Troubadours. Her father was William X continued to patronize the music and poetry of the Medieval Troubadours. It was only natural that Eleanor of Aquitaine would continue in this tradition. Eleanor of Aquitaine married King Henry II on 18 May 1152. She encouraged the Medieval Troubadours and received them at the English court. The tradition and arts of the Medieval Troubadours soon became part of the English society and her son, Richard the Lionheart became one of these aristocratic Medieval Troubadours and his story has included the legend of Blondel the Minstrel.
In Germany, the troubadours became minnesingers, or singers of love songs, and as early as the middle of the twelfth century the minnesingers were already a powerful factor in the life of the era, counting among their number many great nobles and kings. The German minnesingers differed from the French troubadours in that they themselves accompanied their songs on the viol, instead of employing jongleurs.
The Jongleurs were often collaborators or assistants of Medieval Troubadours or trouveres. Jongleurs gained a reputation of itinerant entertainers of the Middle Ages in France and Norman England. Their repertoire included extravagant skills in dancing, conjuring, acrobatics, and juggling. The Jongleurs also played a part in singing, and storytelling. Many were skilled in playing musical instruments, although their skills were not greatly recognised or rewarded.
The Medieval Troubadours and Courtly Love
The ideals of courtly love was publicised in the poems, ballads, writings and literary works of various authors and sung by Medieval Troubadours. Geoffrey Chaucer, the most famous Medieval author, wrote stories about courtly love in the Canterbury Tales. The Medieval Troubadours sang ballads about courtly love and were expected to memorize the words of long poems describing the valour and the code of chivalry followed by the Medieval knights. The Medieval Troubadours sang about the Dark Age myths of Arthurian Legends featuring King Arthur, Camelot and the Knights of the Round Table. The Troubadours therefore strengthened the idea of a Knights Code of Chivalry and Courtly Love.
Medieval Music - Troubadours
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