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Thinking Medieval Romance$
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Katherine C. Little and Nicola McDonald

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780198795148

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198795148.001.0001

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Song and the Soundscape of Old French Romance

Song and the Soundscape of Old French Romance

Chapter:
(p.155) 8 Song and the Soundscape of Old French Romance
Source:
Thinking Medieval Romance
Author(s):

Emma Dillon

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780198795148.003.0009

This chapter examines the presence of song and sound in romance, with a particular focus on the traditions of Old French romance from its incarnation in the 1170s, in the works of Chrétien de Troyes, to the earliest examples of romances interpolated with song (romans à chansons) which date from the first decades of the thirteenth century. Romance’s emergence coincided with a period of extraordinary creativity in the realm of vernacular song, most notably with the emergence of a northern lyric tradition of the trouvères, with the continued cultivation of their Occitan inspiration in the lyrics of the troubadours, and with the earliest efforts at codification of both, in songbooks or chansonniers, the earliest examples of which date from the 1230s. Drawing on approaches from musicology, literary studies, and sound studies, my chapter explores how sound manifests in this tradition, and proposes ways to listen to romance. Listening to romance in turn permits new ways to reframe song culture, particularly in the period prior to its notated codification, and the chapter has implications, too, for what musicology may learn from the sonic aspect of romance.

Keywords:   musicology, sound studies, soundscape, trouvères, lyric-interpolated romance

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