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The trobairitz were the female troubadours, the first female composers of secular music in the Western tradition. The word trobairitz was first used in the 13th-century Romance of Flamenca and its derivation is the same as that of trobaire but in feminine form. There were also female counterparts to the joglars : the joglaresas. The number of trobairitz varies between sources: there were twenty or twenty-one named trobairitz, plus an additional poet known only as Domna H.

There are several anonymous texts ascribed to women; the total number of trobairitz texts varies from twenty-three Schultz-Gora , twenty-five Bec , thirty-six Bruckner, White, and Shepard , and forty-six Rieger. Only one melody composed by a trobairitz the Comtessa de Dia survives. Out of a total of about troubadours and 2, troubadour works, the trobairitz and their corpus form a minor but interesting and informative portion. They are, therefore, quite well studied. The trobairitz were in most respects as varied a lot as their male counterparts, with the general exceptions of their poetic style and their provenance.

They wrote predominantly cansos and tensos ; only one sirventes by a named woman, Gormonda de Monpeslier , survives though two anonymous ones are attributed to women. One salut d'amor , by a woman Azalais d'Altier to a woman Clara d'Anduza is also extant and one anonymous planh is usually assigned a female authorship.

They wrote almost entirely within the trobar leu style; only two poems, one by Lombarda and another Alais, Yselda, and Carenza , are usually considered to belong to the more demanding trobar clus. None of the trobairitz were prolific, or if they were their work has not survived. Only two have left us more than one piece: the Comtessa de Dia, with four, and Castelloza , with three or four.


The trobairitz came almost to a woman from Occitania. All the trobairitz whose families we know were high-born ladies; only one, Lombarda, was probably of the merchant class. All the trobairitz known by name lived around the same time: the late 12th and the early 13th century c. The earliest was probably Tibors de Sarenom , who was active in the s the date of her known composition is uncertain.

The latest was either Garsenda of Forcalquier , who died in , though her period of poetic patronage and composition probably occurred a quarter century earlier, or Guilleuma de Rosers , who composed a tenso with Lanfranc Cigala , known between and Three main styles of Occitan lyric poetry have been identified: the trobar leu light , trobar ric rich , and trobar clus closed, hermetic.

The first was by far the most common: the wording is straightforward and relatively simple compared to the ric and literary devices are less common than in the clus. This style was the most accessible and it was immensely popular. The most famous poet of the trobar leu was Bernart de Ventadorn. The trobar clus regularly escapes modern scholarly interpretation. Words are commonly used metaphorically and symbolically and what a poem appears to be about on its surface is rarely what is intended by the poet or understood by audiences "in the know".

The clus style was invented early by Marcabru but only favoured by a few masters thereafter. The trobar ric style is not as opaque as the clus , rather it employs a rich vocabulary, using many words, rare words, invented words, and unusual, colourful wordings. Modern scholars recognise several "schools" in the troubadour tradition. Among the earliest is a school of followers of Marcabru, sometimes called the "Marcabrunian school": Bernart Marti , Bernart de Venzac , Gavaudan , and Peire d'Alvernhe.


These poets favoured the trobar clus or ric or a hybrid of the two. They were often moralising in tone and critical of contemporary courtly society. Another early school, whose style seems to have fallen out of favour, was the "Gascon school" of Cercamon , Peire de Valeira , and Guiraut de Calanso. Cercamon was said by his biographer to have composed in the "old style" la uzansa antiga and Guiraut's songs were d'aquella saison "of that time". This style of poetry seems to be attached to early troubadours from Gascony and was characterised by references to nature: leaves, flowers, birds, and their songs.

This Gascon "literary fad" was unpopular in Provence in the early 13th century, harming the reputation of the poets associated with it. All three were members of the urban middle class and no courtesans: Miralhas was possibly a potter and Bernart was a mayestre teacher. They have been described as "Gallicised". Troubadours, at least after their style became established, usually followed some set of "rules", like those of the Leys d'amors compiled between and Initially all troubadour verses were called simply vers , yet this soon came to be reserved for only love songs and was later replaced by canso , though the term lived on as an antique expression for the troubadours' early works and was even employed with a more technically meaning by the last generation of troubadours midth century , when it was thought to derive from the Latin word verus truth and was thus used to describe moralising or didactic pieces.

The early troubadours developed many genres and these only proliferated as rules of composition came to be put in writing. The known genres are:. All these genres were highly fluid. A cross between a sirventes and a canso was a meg-sirventes half- sirventes. The maldit and the comiat were often connected as a maldit-comiat and they could be used to attack and renounce a figure other than a lady or a lover, like a commanding officer when combined, in a way, with the sirventes.

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Most "Crusading songs" are classified either as cansos or sirventes but sometimes separately. Some styles became popular in other languages and in other literary or musical traditions. In French , the alba became the aubade , the pastorela the pastourelle , and the partimen the jeu parti.

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The sestina became popular in Italian literature. The troubadours were not averse to borrowing either. The planh developed out of the Latin planctus and the sonnet was stolen from the Sicilian School. The basse danse bassa dansa was first mentioned in the troubadour tradition c. Troubadours performed their own songs.

Jongleurs performers and cantaires singers also performed troubadours' songs. They could work from chansonniers , many of which have survived, or possibly from more rudimentary and temporary songbooks, none of which have survived, if they even existed. Some troubadours, like Arnaut de Maruelh , had their own jongleurs who were dedicated to singing their patron's work.

Arnaut's joglar et cantaire , probably both a singer and a messenger, who carried his love songs to his lady, was Pistoleta. The messenger was commonplace in troubadour poetry; many songs reference a messenger who will bring it to its intended ear. A troubadour often stayed with a noble patron of his own and entertained his court with his songs. Court songs could be used not only as entertainment but also as propaganda, praising the patron, mocking his enemies, encouraging his wars, teaching ethics and etiquette, and maintaining religious unity.

The court was not the only venue for troubadour performance.

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  6. Competitions were held from an early date. According to the vida of the Monge de Montaudon , he received a sparrow hawk , a prized hunting bird, for his poetry from the cour du Puy , some sort of poetry society associated with the court of Alfonso II of Aragon.

    Music of the Troubadours 5: Bel m'es qu'ieu chant

    The most famous contests were held in the twilight of the troubadours in the 14th and 15th centuries. Troubadour songs were usually monophonic. Fewer than melodies out of an estimated survive. Some were set to pre-existing pieces of music. Beginning in the early 13th century, the spread of Occitan verse demanded grammars and dictionaries, especially for those whose native tongue was not Occitan, such as the Catalan and Italian troubadours, and their imitators. The production of such works only increased with the academisation of the troubadour lyric in the 14th century.

    Some 2, poems or fragments of poems have survived from around identifiable troubadours. They are largely preserved in songbooks called chansonniers made for wealthy patrons. Troubadour songs are generally referred to by their incipits , that is, their opening lines. If this is long, or after it has already been mentioned, an abbreviation of the incipit may be used for convenience.

    A few troubadour songs are known by "nicknames", thus D'un sirventes far by Guilhem Figueira is commonly called the Sirventes contra Roma. When a writer seeks to avoid using unglossed Occitan, the incipit of the song may be given in translation instead or a title may even be invented to reflect the theme of the work. There are examples, however, of troubadour songs given Occitan titles in the manuscripts, such as an anonymous pastorela that begins Mentre per una ribeira , which is entitled Porquieira.

    The number of Occitan parchment chansonniers given as extant varies between authors, depending on how they treat fragmentary and multilingual manuscripts. Conventionally, fragments are classified as fragments of the surviving chansonnier they most closely resemble and not as chansonniers in their own right. The lettering siglas was introduced by Karl Bartsch , who placed sources he considered more reliable higher in the alphabet.

    This system is imperfect, however, since many of the chansonniers produced for an Italian audience are heavily edited and do not necessarily more closely resemble the original compositions. While parchment chansonniers are more durable, paper ones also exist and have received lower-case siglas.

    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. For the opera, see Il trovatore. For other uses of "troubadour", see Troubadour disambiguation. Main article: Trobairitz. A chantar m'er. The only existing song by a trobairitz which survives with music. Main article: Occitan literature. Abraham, Mary C.

    Troubadour | Definition of Troubadour by Merriam-Webster

    Akehurst, F. A Handbook of the Troubadours. Berkeley: University of California Press. Aubrey, Elizabeth Boase, Roger Manchester: Manchester University Press. Chaytor, Henry John The Troubadours. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Gaunt, Simon, and Kay, Sarah , edd.

    Jones, W. Powell Paden, William D. Woodbridge: Boydell Press. Los trovadores: historia literaria y textos. Barcelona: Planeta, Silverstein, Theodore Smythe, Barbara New York: Cooper Square Publishers. Warren, F. The Poetry of Cercamon and Jaufre Rudel. London: Garland Publishing. Que sais-je? The origin and meaning of courtly love: a critical study of European scholarship. Manchester University Press. Peire d'Alvernha, Liriche. Provence and Pound.

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    University of California. Romania : 14— The Women Troubadours. WW Norton. Routledge Encyclopedia of Translation Studies. Bond, "Origins", in Akehurst and Davis, p. Bond, "Origins", in Akehurst and Davis, Bertran de Born uses the term miei sirventes. Macmillan Press Ltd. Namespaces Article Talk. Views Read Edit View history.

    These poet-musicians combined their poetry and music in the service of courtly love. In the judgment of the troubadour, courtly love or fine amour was the source of all true virtue and nobility. Love could be directed at a lady of high nobility or at a woman of more humble descent. If the chosen lady was married, courtly love was adulterous in nature. For example, St. Francis of Assisi in his service of the poor solemnized a marriage with Our Lady Poverty. The troubadours used different verse forms to suit a variety of moods. The pastourelle was a song about an amorous encounter between a knight and a shepherdess.