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Music or Literary Text? Two ways of looking at the thirteenth-century French motet. The present paper outlines the position that I have adopted in analysing the texts and music of the thirteenth-century French motets of the manuscript Montpellier, Bibliotheque de l'Ecole de Medicine, H 196 (hereafter, Mo), and attempts to show how this method can be applied to other poetic genres set to music in the thirteenth century. My main concern for a number of years has been that, despite the exhortations of Friedrich Gennrich in 1918,1 to the effect that a correlated study of text and music is essential for any structural analysis of these works, with very few exceptions musicologists and philologists have all gone their own way, philologists in particular basing their ideas on the work of previous text scholars, and ignoring the music altogether. As Hans Tischler has stated, for too long philologists have insisted, or implied by their analyses, that medieval poetry is based on syllable count.2 In 1955, for example, Hans Spanke put out a new edition of Gaston Raynaud's Bibliographie des chansonniers francais (Leiden, 1955) and analysed all the lines according to rhyme and syllable count alone. The most recent work in this field (Ulrich Molk and Friedrich Wolfzettel's Repertoire metrique de la poesie lyrique francaise des origines a 1350 (Munich, 1972) also takes this approach. Despite Molk and Wolfzettel's excellent bibliography, which contains references to many works of a musicological nature, it is clear from their analyses of the texts that they have not taken the music into account, and that errors are continued and, in some cases, compounded. Rhymes, for example, are often seen where no rhymes in fact exist. Syllable count is not the life-giving basis of either motet poetry or trouvere song. The line in French poetry, even today, is constructed according to two very old principles: line length and end accentuation. (Line length is the number of stressed syllables; end accentuation refers to the placement of the strongest syllable at the rhyme and at the caesura.) Line length, contrary to what philologists might say, does not mean syllable count but the number of pulses, that is, the number of stressed syllables, in a line. Hans Tischler first made reference to this fact with respect to trouvdre song.3 Line length, rather than mere syllable count, is crucial to my purpose of analysing the relation between the poetic 1 Friedrich Gennrich, Musikwissenschaft and romanische Philologie: ein Beitrag zur Bewertung der Musik als Hilfswissenschaft der romanischen Philologie, Halle, 1918. 2 Metrum und Rhythmus in franzosischer Dichtung und Musik des 13.Jahrhunderts, Arcbiv fur Musikwissenschaft 32, 1975, 72. 3 Ibid., 72-80 36 R.E. Smith I r, A - mors ai. r g r y Ou'en fe - rai ? J'fljJ>1 I ' 'J J 1 ' ^ J- 1 1 - ^ Cest la fin, la fin, que que nus di - e, j'a - m e - rai. 38 R.E. Smith Example 3: K. Bartsch, Altfranzosische Romanzen und Pastourellen, 56, No.536. L'autrier jouer m'en alai par un destor, en un jardin m'en entrai por cueillir flor: 5 dame plaisant i trovai cointe d'ator. cuer ot gai, si chantoit en grant esmai 'amors ai! 10 qu'en ferai? c'est la fins, quoi que nus die, j'amerai.' Flos silvis. Example 4: Molk and Wolfzettel, Repertoire metrique, 278, No.613. 613 ababaaaaac a 1) 7 4 7 4 7 7 7 3 3 9' 3 Example 5: Author's edition. ff. 27-28 (651) 8v. a: or b: ai L'autrier joer m'en alai par un destor; en un vergier m'en entrai pour queillir flor Dame plesant i trovai, cointe d'atour. Cuer ot gai; 5 si chantoit en grant esmai: Amors ai. Qu'en ferai? C'est la fin, la fin, que que nus die, j'amerai! B 13 8p The other day I wandered off to play; I entered a grove to pick a flower: there I found a winsome lady, elegantly dressed, her heart was gay, yet she sang in great dismay: I have a love, what shall I do? This is the end, the end...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1832-8334
Print ISSN
0313-6221
Pages
pp. 35-47
Launched on MUSE
2013-04-03
Open Access
No
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