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369

Thematic Catalogue of Troubadour and Trouvère Melodies

Donna Mayer-Martin
2011

739 pp.

2 illustrations

ISBN: 978-0918728821

Hardback 9x11 $120.00


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This thematic catalogue is the product of inventories of all manuscripts containing music of the troubadours and trouvères. Melodic incipits of extant melodies are presented in intervallic order and each incipit is provided with cross-references to appearances of the same or related melodies found in other manuscript sources. Specific references to appropriate philological handbooks also are listed with each melody. The indices include cross-reference tables for the melodies with text handbooks including those by Pillet-Carstens Raynaud-Spanke and Linker. A second series of indices presents the order of appearance of melodies within the individual manuscripts.

Introductory materials provide descriptions of each of the manuscripts or chansonniers its contents and its relationships to the other collections. An in-depth bibliography related to the study of the chansonniers concludes the introductory materials. This catalogue is an invaluable resource for scholars and performers working with the medieval monophonic lyric and related polyphonic repertoires such as the ars antiqua motet.

December 1, 2012

Scholars of troubadour and trouvère song are indebted to and deeply reliant upon catalogs. Most research on these repertories begins by consulting either the catalog of Alfred Pillet and Henry Carstens (Bibliographie des Troubadours [Halle: Niemeyer, 1933]) or that of Gaston Raynaud and Hans Spanke (Hans Spanke, (G. Raynauds Bibliographie des altfranzösischen Liedes [Leiden: Brill, 1980]). These foundational resources organized the sprawling corpus of troubadour and trouvère song into a tidy series of entries indicating the text incipits of thousands of songs and their manuscript concordances. Donna Mayer-Martin and Dorothy Keyser have combined the information in these volumes for the first time, producing a single catalog of both troubadour and trouvère songs. They have also added a new thematic index of melodic incipits. The result is a welcome resource that is sure not only to facilitate future research, but also to help inspire comparative work on the troubadours and trouvères.

The catalog begins with a short introduction explaining its unusual genesis. The project began when Mayer-Martin signed the contract with Pendragon Press in 1984; Keyser joined her in 1992 and completed the catalog after Mayer-Martin’s death in 2009 (pp. vii–ix). Mayer-Martin was unable to complete a planned study of the manuscript history, a lacuna that has already been partially filled by Mary O’Neill’s recent monograph on trouvère song, which is curiously absent from the bibliography ((Courtly Love Songs of Medieval France [Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006]). Keyser’s introduction offers a brief summary of the troubadour and trouvère traditions, a discussion of issues in transcription, and a bibliography.

The summary of troubadour and trouvère traditions could have benefited from having been brought up to date with recent research. For example, Keyser’s statement that the origin of the music of troubadour song is enigmatic is certainly arguable, but should be read against Margaret Switten’s convincing study of the influence of the Aquitanian versus on the melodies of troubadour song (“Versus and Troubadours Around 1100: A Comparative Study of Refrain Technique in the ‘New Song,’ ”Plainsong and Medieval Music 16 [2007]: 91– 143). Similarly, the assertion that the northern French city of Arras hosted a puy or guild is inaccurate. The Old French term puy refers not to a guild, but to an elusive song contest purportedly held by the bourgeois members of the Carité de Notre Dame des Ardents, the first confraternity of musicians. (Carol Symes, A Common Stage: Theater and Public Life in Medieval Arras [Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2007]). Keyser also addresses the thorny issue of rhythm in trouvère song. She adopts a nonmensural approach, including neumatic incipits for melodies with “mensural significance” (pp. xii–xiv). She argues that the scholarly consensus supports a nonmensural interpretation for all sources except trouvère manuscript O. There are, however, many scholars who also adopt rhythmic interpretations of trouvère manuscripts M and T, a factor that is not discussed. Finally, Keyser provides a scholarly bibliography, helpfully cued to individual manuscripts. Unfortunately, the bibliography also lacks references to many relevant studies published in the past decade. In addition to O’Neill’s book (cited above), readers should take note of studies by Judith A. Peraino and John D. Haines (Peraino, “Re-Placing Medieval Music” Journal of the American Musicological Society 51 [2001]: 209–64 and Haines, “The Trans formations of the Manuscrit du Roi,” Musica Disciplina 52 [1998]: 5–43).

The most valuable aspect of this volume is the catalog itself, which is divided into two large sections devoted to the troubadours and trouvères respectively. Each song is given an entry with its melody, its position in the base manuscript (the choice of the base manuscript is not discussed), its concordances in other manuscripts, and any known contrafacta. Each section ends with a bibliographic list of the songs organized alphabetically by author, by title, and by the contents of individual manuscripts. The section then concludes with a table that cross-references the number in the catalog (M-M or Mayer-Martin number) with corresponding numbers in either the Pillet-Carstens or Raynaud-Spanke number. Because the literature on troubadour and trouvère song has relied so heavily on Pillet-Carstens and Raynaud-Spanke to identify songs, it seems unlikely that scholars will adopt Mayer-Martin numbers in their place, thus the concordance table is especially necessary.

The indexes are extremely useful, particularly the thorough lists of the contents of individual troubadour and trouvère manuscripts. Although similar tables can be found for a number of these manuscripts (see Sylvia Huot, From Song to Book: The Poetics of Writing in Old French Lyric and Lyrical Narrative Poetry [Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1987]), no other published resource provides such detailed song lists for such a large number of manuscripts. It is particularly valuable to find them in one location; moreover, the catalog is designed to facilitate fast and effective cross-referencing. Recent research in medieval musicology has stressed the importance of considering the manuscript context of individual songs. The “New Codicology” emphasizes the ways in which manuscript compilation, the pattern of illuminations, and scribal activity inflect our understanding of individual musical works (see discussion in Emma Dillon, Medieval Music-making and the “Roman de Fauvel” [Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002]). The indexes in this volume are a potentially valuable tool that could aid in the preliminary research necessary for this kind of work. They have the potential, for example, to make visible information such as the organizational schemes of individual manuscripts or patterns of regional identity among the authors.

The thematic index is also helpful for comparison of melodic incipits. Perhaps the index of troubadour melodies will inspire more comparative work on this repertory by musicologists, who have long been content to rely on foundational work by Elizabeth Aubrey (The Music of the Troubadours [Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1997]). A thematic index of trouvère song is less necessary than it might have once been, had not transcriptions of the trouvère corpus been made available in extensive detail in Hans Tischler’s monumental edition of trouvère melodies, albeit with his controversial rhythmic interpretations (Trouvère Lyrics with Melodies: Complete Comparative Edition, 15 vols., Corpus Mensura bilis Musicae 107 [Neuhausen: Hänssler-Verlag, 1997]). Tishler’s edition provides trouvère songs in their entirety, with the full melodies of their concordances and their manuscript locations. The information provided by Mayer-Martin and Keyser is comparatively partial; however, their catalog is admittedly less unwieldy .

This book is clearly the result of decades of painstaking work. Given this, it is all the more surprising to note that the text is riddled with an unusually large number of unfortunate errors in spelling, punctuation, and formatting. In spite of this, the catalog is a useful addition to our bibliographic tools for the troubadour and trouvère corpus.

Jennifer Saltzstein, University of Oklahoma
Notes: Quarterly Journal of the Music Library Association



December 10, 2011

Medieval troubadors were more than itinerant or court entertainers, they were vessels by which culture and custom, ideals and ideologies were propagated through their poetry and music. Trouveres did much the same a few generations later, but are distinguished in that they wrote in Old French. Thematic Catalogue of Troubadour and Trouvere Melodies is a 369-page compendium developed by the late musicologist Donna Mayer-Martin who was unable to see the completion of her project. Fortunately, academician Dorothy Keyser was able to complete the project and bring it to publication for the enduring benefit of academia. This is an impressive body of seminal scholarship and will prove to be a valued and appreciation contribution to the growing library of Medieval Studies reference works. Graced with a lengthy, informed, and informative introduction, Thematic Catalogue of Troubadour and Trouvere Melodies is superbly organized beginning with a thematic catalogue of troubadour melodies, and index of trouvere composers and their songs, and the contents of both troubadour and trouvere manuscripts. Of special note for scholars is the inclusion of a 'List of Works Cited' and an extensive bibliography. A masterwork of specialized research, Thematic Catalogue of Troubadour and Trouvere Melodies will prove to be a prized addition to academic library reference collections.

James A. Cox
Midwest Book Review
Donna Mayer-Martin:

Dr. Donna Mayer-Martin, Associate Professor of Music History, received her B.M. in Piano from Saint Mary College, Kansas and M.M. and Ph.D. in Musicology from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. Dr. Mayer-Martin taught at Wake Forest University before joining Meadows School of the Arts in 1982. She started as an assistant professor, soon became an associate professor in the Division of Music and for two terms she served as chair of the Music History department. Professor Mayer-Martin joined the Medieval Studies faculty at SMU as part of an interdisciplinary team-teaching experiment in such courses as Medieval Ideas of the Feminine and The Medieval Pilgrimage. As SMU's professor-in-residence for the SMU-in-Paris program, she regularly taught music history courses on-site in Paris for music students and served as coordinator with the Paris Conservatoire. The courses she created at SMU -- Like A Virgin: From Hildegard to Madonna and The Owl and the Nightingale -- were extraordinarily original and intellectually and musically vivid. She served on many faculty and decanal councils both in the Meadows School of the Arts and in other areas of the University. Although she was the music editor of the new Encyclopedia of Medieval Germany, has published essays and given many lectures for the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, the long-awaited, yet to be published Thematic Catalogue of Troubadour and Trouvère Melodies, will be her true legacy. Above all, however, Professor Mayer-Martin was a dedicated teacher and a keen learner; her students agree that she poured her energies and passion into her teaching.

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