Words and Music in Medieval Europe

1st Edition

Nigel Wilkins

Routledge
Published March 28, 2011
Reference - 346 Pages
ISBN 9781409418191 - CAT# Y239304
Series: Variorum Collected Studies

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Summary

This selection of nineteen essays by Nigel Wilkins, in English and in French, is characterised by an inter-disciplinary approach crossing the borders between music, language, literature, history, palaeography and iconography. The principal topic is lyric poetry in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, mostly French and English, both with and without music, and in various contexts. Guillaume de Machaut, the dominant poet-musician of the age, is the central figure: his influence is traced in poets such as Froissart, Deschamps, Christine de Pisan, Charles d'Orléans, Villon, Gower and Chaucer, and in the poet-musicians who came after him. The question of patronage is investigated. The development of the principal lyric forms, rondeau, ballade and virelai, is explored on both sides of the Channel, as is the way they were used, for example in miracle plays and in court entertainment. A Flemish painting of 1493 helps us discover the rôle of music in the ceremonies of trade and religious guilds; a memorial brass from King's Lynn reveals the importance of music in the ceremonial of feasts. Wider themes are also explored, such as the association of music with the Devil, the use of several languages combined in certain musical contexts, and the controversial role of inspiration in musical composition.

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