Friday, September 12, 2008

Journal Response #1 - Troubadour Songs

Jaime Tyser
4 Sept 2008
Cons 351WI

Journal Entry #1 Troubadour Songs

Upon looking through the listening list, I immediately went for the recording with troubadour music, sung tales of lust, love, and courting – quite intriguing! The particular recording I chose to listen to is entitled, Cansós de Trobairitz - translated as, Troubadour Songs. This recording was interesting as it was a compilation of songs rather than a single piece. The insert included with the recording was extremely beneficial to read while studying the music at hand. It provided short descriptions and explanations about the songs along with an insight to the idea of the recording and its creation. There were seven tracks total on the sound recording; three of them were writings of Condesa de Dia. The other songs had texts and music written by others such as the infamous anonymous, Guirot de Bornelh, Cadanet, Bernart de Ventadorn, Condesa de Provenza Garsenda, Gaulcem Faidit, and Arnaut de Maruehl.
These Troubadour songs all varied in length ranging from as little as three minutes to as long as ten minutes. Seeing that the insert provided had a caption saying “Song of the Trobairitz – About 1200” the songs can be identified as fitting into the medieval time period. The instrumentation was generally the same in each song. A couple different types of drums were easy to identify, sounding as if they were hit either by hand or soft mallet. Other instruments one could distinctively hear were those of the string and flute family. Occasionally a tambourine or small chimes could be heard. The presiding melodic line was carried by voice, sung by a man, woman, or female choir. The last track on the recording is an Alba, what we discussed as being the morning song. Some of the texts were written by Condesa de Dia, whom we know little about but have a few surviving songs from. The stanzas are strophic and set in a fixed pattern a lot of the time with syllabic rhythm or pronunciations of the French words
As a listener, I found this recording to be easy to sit through. The songs chosen for this recording were particularly diverse for the most part making the fifty minutes pass quickly. The difference in mood between each track led me to create a new grouping for the songs.
1: Happy/light (Vos que-m semblatz dels corals amadors)
2: Somber/Nearly sad (Estat ai en greu Cossirier)
3: Light/Staccato (Na carenza al bel cors avinen)
4: Dance like/Resembling track 1 (Si-us quer conslh, bel ami Alamanda)
5: Light/Slow tempo (Ab’ joi et ab joven m’apais)
6: Dark/Sad (A chantar m’er de so q’ieu no voldria
7: Medium tempo/Urgency (S’anc fui belha ni prezada)

As you can see, the tracks alternate in mood keeping the interest and attention through variety. I never tired of hearing a certain feeling that was being conveyed. Stylistically, the lighter and happier songs were very dance like and the slower more somber songs were sung in such a way that it seemed the weight of the world was pressing upon the individual singing. After looking up texts it was apparent that heartache and infatuation of love were very much the driving force of the music. In terms of form, these songs were very strophic, alternating between a man and woman or women singing. A sung stanza would be followed by a musical interlude; the cycle would then be repeated as needed for the text. The vocal part was stepwise and steered clear of dissonance most of the time.
My personal opinion of this recording is that it is nice to hear. Stories are being told of secret meetings, twisted tales of love and lust. The songs call out to one another, sung with the undying want of the love of a targeted individual. Some texts scream with heartache such as in Estat ai en greu cossirier (Of Late I Have Been in Great Distress). Condesa de Dia slowly sings, “I’d offer him my every part, my mind, my senses, and my heart” about a man she lost. The extreme drama and feeling these people claim is nearly ridiculous, but nothing short of what one would find during this day and age. The main difference I noticed was not in the meaning of the words, but the actual words being used. Humans, as far as love goes, have not changed much. It is interesting how one can feel so strongly towards another, in a good and bad way. In today’s world we do not say things such as, “when, my gallant handsome friend, when shall I have you in my power?” We use other phrases, for example, “when will be together?” I think these songs and texts, if anyone has had experience with relationships of any sort, relate to people with the mood that is conveyed through the music and although stated in a different way, the text.
In my opinion, this recording was done very well. The texts were sung beautifully and the moods of each song were presented in a recognizable fashion. This has definitely given me a new appreciation for this specific part of the medieval music era. More so than that, it has inspired me to be more engaged in the other types of music found during the medieval time period. I encourage listeners to always find the texts for each song they hear as doing so helped me to understand what I was hearing an immense amount. I feel reading the texts also enriched my vocabulary and helped motivate my mind to foster creative thoughts and phrases; the words they chose are extraordinarily clever.

1 comment:

Chrstopher McKiggan said...

Hi Jamie,

Just got done with a response :) Great job!