Abstracts

The International Machaut Society will sponsor three sessions at the International Congress on Medieval Studies on Saturday, May 13. The Society will also host a luncheon on Saturday, May 13.

Beyond Machaut: Other Fourteenth-Century French Literary and Musical Voices
Session 354, 10:00 a.m., Saturday, May 13

  • What to Do with Philippe de Vitry’s Chapel de trois fleurs de lis
    Anna Zayaruznaya, Yale Univ.
  • Talking Statues, from Deguileville to Machaut
    Julie Singer, Washington Univ. in St. Louis
  • Machaut in Theory: A (Somewhat) New Witness to the Libellus cantus mensurabilis
    Karen M. Cook, Hartt School, Univ. of Hartford

Emerging Approaches: New Research in Machaut Studies
Session 405, 1:30 p.m., Saturday, May 13

  • Queering Machaut: Sexual Poetics in the Voir Dit
    Charlie Samuelson, King’s College London
  • The Dit dou Lyon Landscape Miniature in Ms. C: More Than Meets the Eye
    Margaret Goehring, New Mexico State Univ.–Las Cruces
  • Machaut’s Poetic Destour as Theory
    Anne-Hélène Miller, Univ. of Tennessee–Knoxville

Perspectives on Machaut’s First Book (A Roundtable)
Session 457, 3:30 p.m., Saturday, May 13

  • A roundtable discussion with Lawrence M. Earp, Univ. of Wisconsin–Madison; Tamsyn Rose-Steel, Johns Hopkins Univ.; and Jared C. Hartt, Oberlin Conservatory of Music.
  • Respondent: Domenic Leo, Duquesne Univ.

Other Machaut papers and performances

  • Pygmalion’s Phantasmic Craft in Machaut’s Fonteinne amoureuse
    Sarah Powrie, St.Thomas More College
    Session 62, Ovid’s Medieval Metamorphoses I: Shaping Pygmalion, Reflecting Narcissus, 1:30 p.m., Thursday, May 11

The International Machaut Society sponsored two sessions at the International Congress on Medieval Studies on Saturday, May 14. The Society also hosted a luncheon on Saturday, May 14.

MACHAUT IN THE SOUTH
Session 406, 1:30 p.m., Saturday, May 14

  • Machaut Gone South: Mobile Iconography
    Domenic Leo, Duquesne Univ
  • The Ferrell Manuscript (Vg) as a Document of Machaut Reception in the South
    Lawrence M. Earp, Univ. of Wisconsin-Madison
  • Machaut Cited/Sited in the South: A Performance of Musical Quotation
    Tamsyn Rose-Steel, Johns Hopkins Univ

MACHAUT ON PAGE AND SCREEN
Session 459, 3:30 p.m., Saturday, May 14

  • Rhythmic Organization and the Potential for Flexibility in the Digital Encodings of Machaut's Music
    Karen Desmond, McGill Univ
  • Remembering and Forgetting Charles of Navarre in the Pages of Machaut's Confort d'amy
    Rachel Geer, Univ. of Virginia
  • The Hidden Message in Guillaume de Machaut's Manuscript A
    Stefan Udell, Univ. of Toronto

Other Machaut papers and performances

  • Made to Measure: On the Intimate Relations of Song and Parchment in Guillaume de Machaut's Remede and Prologue
    Anne Stone, CUNY
    Session 517, Interdisciplinary Approaches to the Late Medieval Lyric, 8:30 a.m., Sunday, May 15

The International Machaut Society sponsored two sessions at the International Congress on Medieval Studies on Sunday, May 17. The Society also hosted a luncheon on Saturday, May 16.

MACHAUT: NEW DIRECTIONS FOR ANALYSIS
Session 528, 8:30 a.m., Sunday, May 17

  • Analyzing Machaut’s Music: A User-Friendly Approach for the Non-musicologist
    Lawrence Earp, University of Wisconsin at Madison
  • Teaching Motets to Undergraduate Students
    Jared C. Hartt, Oberlin Conservatory of Music
  • Sound and Socialization in the Remede de fortune
    Tamsyn Rose-Steel, Johns Hopkins University

MACHAUT AND HIS ENGLISH CONTEMPORARIES
Session 555, 10:30 a.m., Sunday, May 17

  • The Jugement Behaingne and an Anonymous “English” Counterpart
    Benjamin Albritton, Stanford University
  • Thinking about Writing: Machaut’s Prologue and Chaucer’s Bookish Persona
    Madeleine Elson, Centre for Medieval Studies, University of Toronto
  • The Poetic Persona after Machaut: Chaucer and Gower, Poetry and Patronage, and the “Wonderful Parliament” of 1386
    Burt Kimmelman, New Jersey Institute of Technology
  • Politics, Culture, and the Arts in the Early Phase of the Hundred Years War
    Kevin N. Moll, East Carolina University

Other Machaut papers and performances

  • Lais and Virelais: Music by Machaut (A Performance)
    A performance by Tamara Bentley Caudill, Tulane University; Hunter Hensley; and Rupert T. Pickens, University of Kentucky, with commentary by Judith A. Peraino
    Session 146, Thursday, 7:30 p.m., May 14
  • Fixing Machaut's Confort d'amy ca. 1380
    Rachel Geer, Valparaiso University
    Session 345, Editing the Future of the Middle Ages: Some Speculative Emendations (A Roundtable), 10:00 a.m., Saturday, May 16

The International Machaut Society sponsored two sessions and a business meeting at the 2014 meeting of the International Congress on Medieval Studies:

  • Machaut's Motets: Music, Text, Image
    Session 356, 10:00 a.m., Saturday, May 10
    • Tamsyn Rose-Steel (Johns Hopkins University), "Machaut's Motets and Lyrics and the Debate Tradition"
    • Jared C. Hartt (Oberlin University), "Leader of the Flock: Machaut's Motet 22"
    • Domenic Leo (Youngstown State University), "Machaut's Illuminated Motet: Iconography and Afterlife"

  • Music, Literature, Art: Teaching Machaut and Fourteenth-Century Contexts
    Session 396, 1:30 p.m., Saturday, May 10
    • Helen Swift (St. Hilda's College, University of Oxford), "A Narrator That Is Not One: Refreshing Our Perspective on the Poetic "I" in Late Medieval Dits"
    • Jelena Bogdanovic (Iowa State University), "Teaching Art History in Fourteenth-Century Contexts"
    • Anne-Helene Miller (East Carolina University), "Teaching Literature and Philosophy in Fourteenth-Century Contexts"
    • Kevin Moll (East Carolina University), "Teaching Music History in Fourteenth-Century Contexts"
Panel list and abstracts not currently available.
Panel list and abstracts not currently available.
Panel list and abstracts not currently available.

The International Machaut Society sponsored three sessions and a business meeting at the 2010 meeting of the International Congress on Medieval Studies:

  • Resources, Sources, and Machaut's Motets (a Roundtable)
    • Jared C. Hartt (Oberlin College Conservatory of Music), "Clap, Clap!  Contextualizing Machaut in Ivrea"

    The Ivrea Codex contains one of the most important collections of fourteenth-century polyphony. The document mixes three of Guillaume de Machaut’s motets with thirty-four others from the period; the group of thirty-seven represents the largest motet collection in any extant Ars Nova manuscript. As a whole, the motets exhibit a wide range of compositional styles and subject matter. The Ivrea Codex thus provides an interesting snapshot of Ars Nova composition, an especially appropriate lens through which to compare Machaut’s compositional style with that of his contemporaries, even though most of them remain anonymous. With the Ivrea Codex as a backdrop, this paper raises several questions concerning Machaut as “influencor” and “influencee.”

    To date, connections between various pairs and groups of motets have been drawn based primarily upon isorhythmic and textual similarities. In this paper, in addition to considering isorhythm, I compare three pairs of motets by focusing on recurring melodic patterns, voice crossing, sonority usage and syntax. A close reading of each motet’s musical subtleties in turn suggests strong connections between a few Machaut and Ivrea motets.

    • Justin Lavacek (Indiana University--Bloomington), "Contrapuntal Competition in the Motets of Machaut"

    This paper presents an interpretive theory developed in response to what I conceive of as a contrapuntal power struggle in the motets of Guillaume de Machaut.  An uneasy balance seems struck between the tenor voice, which conventionally provides the compositional foundation in the genre, and its supposed contrapuntal investiture, the upper-voice pair, which occasionally usurps control.  I propose that this turbulent musical relationship may be correlated to those amorous ones of the texts which the medieval motet genre simultaneously counterpoints.  If even the most faithful subservience of the chivalric Amant to his Lady and, by analogy, the spiritual Pilgrim to the path of Christ is met with great hardship, so too may the upper-voice pair be oppressed by conformance with the demands of an external tenor.  Although the subordination of new polyphony to a revered model is customary in late medieval composition, I will show that Machaut’s is hardly complacent to domineering.

    • respondent:  Anne Walters Robertson (University of Chicago)

  • Then and Now:  Contextualizing the Voir Dit (a Roundtable)
    • Douglas Kelly (University of Wisconsin--Madison), "Apprenticeship in Machaut's Voir Dit"

    The Voir Dit treats the apprenticeship proposed by Toute Belle in the art of poetry as Machaut practices it. But that is not the literal context of the Dit. How then may we contextualize the Voir Dit or any other Dit by Machaut as an art of poetry?  Toute Belle is an advanced apprentice since she already knows how to write the standard lyric pieces of late medieval poetics. Therefore she enters that category of pupils who learn not from treatises but from exemplary works. Taking Machaut as mentor, the paper deals with the ways that apprentice poets might read, imitate, and emulate poetic masterpieces, especially when using examples, debate, and topical modes like autobiography.

    • Brooke Heidenreich Findley (Pennsylvania State University--Altoona), "Toute Belle in Context:  Gender and Writing in the Voir Dit and the Medieval French Narrative Tradition"

    Toute Belle, the heroine of Machaut’s Voir Dit, has excited critical interest and historical speculation because of the literary talents that the text attributes to her.  However, re-placing Toute Belle within Machaut’s literary context indicates that she may not be as unusual as we have supposed. An examination of the trope of the poet-heroine before Machaut indicates that poetic composition is an activity practiced by several heroines of romance and epic: Nicolette, Fresne, Josiane, Odée and Clarmondine, to name a few of the most prominent. Furthermore, the works of some of these heroines are portrayed as being at the origins of the texts in which they appear; to the extent that author figures exist in these earlier narrative texts, they are women. 

    This paper will argue that, in light of the French narrative works that preceded Machaut, it is the Voir Dit’s poet-hero rather than its poet-heroine who is truly unusual, and around whose uncertain status the text’s interrogation of gender and writing revolves.  It is well known that one of Machaut’s major innovations is his placement of the figure of the clerk at the center of his narratives: in the Voir Dit, he engages that figure in dialogue with the more traditional figure of the poet-heroine, finally exposing his clerkly narrator as resembling a woman. The resulting portrayal of a feminized redactor figure opposite a poet-heroine seems to have influenced the use of the poet-heroine trope in at least one later romance, Ysaÿe le Triste. Thus, an examination of the Voir Dit’s context allows us, not only a new perspective on this remarkable text’s examination of gender and writing, but a glimpse at its dialogue with some of the narrative texts that influenced and were influenced by it.

    • Lawrence M. Earp (University of Wisconsin--Madison), "The Context of the Reception of Machaut ca. 1950:  Boulez and Barthes"

    This paper uses reception history to generate questions for the scholarly research of medieval music. I focus on a moment around 1950, when the repertory commonly known as the “isorhythmic motet” found a new resonance. The argument turns on an article by Craig Ayrey, “Nomos/Nomos: Law, Melody and the Deconstructive in Webern's ‘Leichteste Bürden der Bäume,’ Cantata II Op. 31,” published in Music Analysis 21 (2002): 259-305. Concerned with aesthetic issues of compositional pre-planning in Webern, the article proved extraordinarily suggestive not only for the late medieval motet, but also for Machaut as author, inasmuch as not just structural issues, but also aesthetic issues actively discussed in the mid-twentieth century mesh astonishingly well with the world of Machaut. Drawing upon Ayrey, Webern, Barthes, Boulez, and Adorno, I find aspects of Machaut that demonstrate a static aesthetic, in which a plethora of signs reciprocally reinforce a single central meaning. The paper addresses motets as well as literary works, especially the Voir Dit.

  • Contextualizing Machaut
    • Joyce Coleman (University of Oklahoma), "Doctor of Love:  Guillaume de Machaut's Academic Robes in Context"

    A famous image of Guillaume de Machaut shows him reading aloud to a group of listeners (Paris, BnF fr. 22545, f. 75v; see also f. 40). Machaut is dressed up like a university magister, with appropriate chair and lectern. Although the image is familiar, its importance in the development of authorship iconography is little recognized. In the course of research on the depictions of authors in late medieval manuscripts, this image is the first I have found that accords academic accoutrements to a literary author. Earlier artists had awarded quasimagisterial status to compilers of encyclopedias or to writers of romans d'antiquité, but had not found authors of love poetry worthy of such honor. This paper will contextualize the fr. 22545 image both in relationship to its iconographical innovations and to the artist who introduced these innovations.

    • Lewis Beer (University of Warwick), "The Rose, Machaut, and Gower:  A Spectrum of Love-Critiques"

    Certain medieval love poets establish what seems to be a coherent ideology of love comportment, but with the end goal of dismantling it and replacing it with something better, usually drawing on both the didactic methods and the philosophical doctrines of Boethius’ Consolatio in the process. I side with those commentators who see Jean de Meun’s continuation of the Roman de la Rose as an essentially moral text which exposes, in scurrilous detail, the base acts to which its protagonist is driven by his desires.  In the Confessio Amantis, John Gower invests 30,000 lines of verse in the idea that erotic love fosters, and demands, virtuous conduct, only to conclude that it does no such thing, and that youth and virility are the only ‘virtues’ that can guarantee success in love. As I read them, both these authors, though approaching the subject from different angles, conclude on a rather severe and, as it were, immoderate note, leaving us overwhelmed by a sense of the carnality and/or futility of erotic love.

    In between Jean and Gower, temperamentally as well as chronologically, stands Machaut, whose approach is characterised by moderation and a more sincere investment in the positive aspects of love than we find in the Rose or the Confessio. Above all, he tells us, love is complicated; perhaps it is a worthy activity for the young; certainly it can be a spur to virtue, and in that respect may be considered a true and lasting ‘good’; but eventually, upon mature reflection, the lover must recognise that he has enslaved himself to Fortune, and remedy his situation with the help of God. By comparing Machaut’s handling of this theme with those of other love poets, and by taking the morality of these texts more seriously than scholars have so far tended to do, we can learn a great deal about the way in which Boethian and Neoplatonic concepts informed the writing of poetry in the Middle Ages.

Panel list and abstracts not currently available.

The International Machaut Society sponsored three sessions and a business meeting at the 2008 meeting of the International Congress on Medieval Studies, all on Saturday 10 May; session and paper titles follow.

The International Machaut Society will sponsor three sessions and a business luncheon (at noon in Fetzer 1045) at the 2007 meeting of the International Congress on Medieval Studies, all on Thursday 10 May; session and paper titles follow.

The International Machaut Society sponsored three sessions and a business luncheon at the 2005 meeting of the International Congress on Medieval Studies; titles and abstracts follow.

International Medieval Congress, Kalamazoo, Michigan (2004)

The International Machaut Society sponsored two sessions and a business luncheon on Saturday 8 May 2004.

  • Session 458: Machaut and the Medieval Lyric
    • Deborah McGrady (Tulane University), " 'Que nos amours fussent chantees': The Textual Residue of Machaut's Voir dit in Fifteenth-Century Compendia"

      This paper addresses the issue of residual traces of Machaut's Voir dit in fifteenth-century compendia. Beyond providing evidence that Machaut’s magnum opus survived well into the next century before disappearing with the advent of print, this residue presents invaluable insight into the ways in which later generations interpreted the work. In essence, this residue records how Machuat’s text was decouvert, chante, flageole by later generations. To develop this argument, I will survey briefly four fifteenth-century revivals of the Voir dit that relocate the text in distinctive textual terrains. These "terrains" range from miscellaneous collections of poetry to new literary creations, where in each case the dominant text feeds off the Voir dit by way of direct citation, appropriation, or poetic recall. The three cases are as follows: 1) a miscellaneous collection of late medieval poetry produced circa 1400 (University of Pennsylvania Libraries, MS Pa), 2) a radically abridged version of the Voir dit contained in a collection of Machaut’s works produced most likely between 1425-1430 (Pierpont Morgan, MS Pm 396), and finally, 3) René d’Anjou’s 1457 eulogy to Machaut in his imaginary visit to the master’s tomb recorded in Le livre du cuer d’amours espris. These examples have been privileged because they present tantalizing evidence that Toute-Belle and Guillaume’s love affair "was sung, performed, talked about" for many decades after the composition and initial circulation of the Voir dit, but they also disclose to what extent Machaut’s text was co-opted, rewritten, and repackaged to serve very different ambitions.

    • Benjamin Albritton (University of Washington-Seattle), "Hearing Formal Repetition in Machaut's Lais"

      Analysis of Guillaume de Machaut's lais reveals the repeated use of a rather complex metric structure. This stanza form appears in lais which received musical settings as well as some which did not, and appears confined to the chronologically later works. The purpose of this paper is to examine the elements that distinguish this stanza form from the plethora of forms Machaut used, as well as to consider the possible significance of the use of this recurring musical and poetic form.

      This form, a7a7b4b7a4a7b4b7a4, is asymmetrical in both its rhyme- and metric-schemes, yet has a highly consistent musical form. It is used in fourteen of the lais (including the two canons, but excluding the lais found to contain hidden polyphony), and in six instances is used for the opening and closing stanzas. In effect, it is repeated often enough to become a recognizable fixed form within the larger context of the concrete form of the Machaut lai (twelve stanzas with different metric and rhyme schemes, save the first and last which are of the same form).

      Areas of consideration include: poetic and musical context within specific works; aspects of form as related to a shifting concept of genre in the later lais; questions of intertexuality (how should the reader/listener understand a recognizable form within a genre which prizes difference); and possible precedents for this highly organized presentation of a specific signature form. Finally, I will address the question of why Machaut chose to emphasize this particular form.

    • Elizabeth L. Keathley (University of North Carolina--Greensboro), " 'Dueil' or 'Rage': Reconsidering Christine's Dueil angoisseux"

      As her only poem (that we know of) set to music during her own century, Christine de Pizan's ballade Dueil angoisseux has garnered a certain amount of attention from musicologists. Its place in the first part of her Cent Ballades, a section entitled "Poemes de Veuvage" (Poems of Widowhood), has led Dueil angoisseux to be regarded as a powerful lament on the death of her husband, and Binchois' setting is also assumed to respond to someone's death (whose is unclear). But unlike some of her other ballades and rondeaux, Dueil angoisseux makes no reference at all to her deceased husband. Rather, the ballade protests the frustrations of her condition of widowhood, and the envoy makes a direct appeal for aid.

      There is a striking correspondence between the content of Dueil angoisseux and the autobiographical account of her misfortunes in L'Avision-Christine (Christine's Vision)--her financial difficulties, embarrassment, "labor in vain," and victimization by uncaring or unscrupulous persons--all crystallized in Vision in a ballade complaining of the treatment of widows in general: "Alas! Where shall they find solace/Poor widows who have lost all?" Liane Curtis has argued persuasively that Dueil angoisseux represents a woman's use of lament, a culturally ascribed "feminine" genre, to gain access to public speech. But it's even more than that: it's a woman's use of a feminine genre not to express her sadness, but to make demands of an unjust and uncaring world.

      Christine acknowledged that part of the appeal of her poems was their female authorship: the nobles in France and abroad found this quite novel. Binchois, who served the Burgundian court as Christine had, surely had some sense that there was more to this ballade than a widow's sadness, and this suggests that his compositional response to the poem as well as the occasion behind his setting stand to be reconsidered.

  • Session 517: Machaut and the Fourteenth-Century Mass
    • Kevin N. Moll (East Carolina University), "A Comparative View of Polyphonic Mass Cycles in the Fourteenth Century"

      This paper explores the issue of the polyphonic mass cycle as it appears to have been conceived in the fourteenth century, as opposed to its much more familiar guise in the fifteenth century, when musical unification through a common cantus firmus was a clear element of its design.

      Following the work of Leo Schrade, the study begins by defining the mass cycle of the period in terms of its paleographical and musical characteristics, tracing its roots in the plainchant cycles that began to be common in the thirteenth century. Codicological criteria for defining the mass cycle proceed from the contiguous placement of appropriate settings of the Mass Ordinary in liturgical order in manuscripts (including settings of the Ite missa est), as well as the extent of regularity in the inclusion of the various movements. Musical evidence considered includes the extent of tonal coherence among the various movements of a putative cycle, the use of preexistent plainchant melodies in polyphonic contexts, and the reuse of related motivic, tonal, and rhythmic material in disparate movements.

      The following section of the paper comprises an assessment of the Machaut Mass, comparing this famous cycle with the other generally recognized mass cycles of the period (i.e., the Tournai, Sorbonne, Toulouse, and Barcelona masses), as well as considering a number of further groupings that have been proposed by various scholars.

      The paper concludes with a general reassessment of the use of preexistent material in mass movements of the period, particularly the so-called parody techniques that have at times been emphasized as being cultivated by composers of liturgical music during the fourteenth century. These are shown to be based on procedures that are more utilitarian, and less self-consciously artistic, than has generally been acknowledged in the literature.

International Medieval Congress, Kalamazoo, Michigan (2003)

The International Machaut Society sponsored two sessions and a business luncheon at Kalamazoo; all events took place on Saturday May 10th, 2003.

  • Session 415: The Future of Machaut Studies: A Roundtable
    • Nicole Elise Lassahn (University of Chicago), presider
    • Domenic Leo, Manuscript Illumination
    • Lawrence M. Earp, Univ. of Wisconsin-Madison, The Musical Works
    • Kristen M. Figg, Kent State Univ.-Salem, The Lyric Poetry
    • R. Barton Palmer, Clemson University, The Narrative Poetry

  • Session 450: Machaut Reading/Reading Machaut
    • Barbara Altmann (Univ. of Oregon), "A Case Study in Intertextuality: Christine de Pizan Reading Machaut"

      This project has its origins in an error. Some years ago, I found in a fifteenth century manuscript (BNF f.fr. 2201) a poem attributed to Alain Chartier. I knew from its language, themes, form and rhetorical flourishes that the attribution was incorrect and believed it might be the work of Christine de Pizan, with whose style it was entirely consistent. After some sleuthing, however, I discovered that I, too, was wrong. The poem was well documented as part of the corpus by Guillaume de Machaut.

      This experience raises questions concerning the conventional nature of late-medieval courtly poetry. We can easily mistake a poem by one author for the work of another because so much of that poetry draws on the same themes, vocabulary, tropes, meter and rhyme. In particular, it confirmed the strong intertextual link between Machaut and Christine. In this paper, I wish to analyze what evidence there is for a deliberate dialogical, intertextual relationship between the works of Machaut and Christine and what is more simply the result of the popularity of particular forms and themes in late-medieval poetry.

      Reading Machaut side by side with one of his greatest literary descendents will give us a better understanding of the writerly genealogies late-medieval authors constructed as one way to legitimize their public voices. Machaut’s key role in medieval literary history becomes clearer as we examine how his successors altered the models he created. As for Christine, her work must be read not in isolation but in context; like all her contemporaries, she deliberately inscribes her writing as part of the traditions and prevailing currents of her cultural milieu. She must be read as a reader of the master, Machaut.

      My approach includes examining the ill-defined overlap of our notions of intertextuality and conventionality. In its broadest sense, the term “intertextuality” actually encompasses literary convention. In practice, however, critics tend to see an “intertextual” relationship between two pieces of literature as positive and worthy of notice, while “conventional” has a more negative valence. The study of the use of conventional forms is a rich area of enquiry for Middle-French poetry, however, in which each author finds his or her own voice through subtle variation. To appreciate this aesthetic we need to re-examine our use of current critical terms as they apply to the Middle Ages.

      My initial corpus for this new paper will be the highly structured, intricate lyric poems known as “complaintes” or “lais,” of which Machaut composed 24 and Christine three. In future stages I will extend the analysis to their allegorical work.

    • Evelyn Arnrich (Univ. of Jena), "Assignment of Text to Music in Three Motets of Guillaume de Machaut"

      In general the motets written by Guillaume de Machaut have come down to us by means of the Machaut Manuscripts MachA, MachB, MachC, MachE, MachG and Vg. Apart from these manuscripts, three motets nos. 8, 15 and 19 were also handed down in Codex Ivrea respectively in Trém. During the presentation all manuscripts, containing the above mentioned motets will compared by an open edition in order to their assignment of the text to music. Differences based on the scribal praxis will shown and analysed. The presentation aims at a more detailed perspective on scribal processes of the Machaut motets.

International Medieval Congress, Kalamazoo, Michigan (2002)

Please note that session descriptions stem from the original call for papers

  • Machaut and his Intellectual Milieu (organized by Nicole Lassahn, nelassah@midway.uchicago.edu)

    This session is meant as a forum for investigation of Machaut's interaction - broadly conceived -- with his context(s) and contemporaries. For example, we would welcome comparative work on Machaut and other authors and musicians from his time, particularly Chaucer, Vitry, and Froissart. Papers might also explore questions of literary and musical sources and influences, including either his influence on others, or his adaptation of his own sources. Papers might also investigate political questions and court contexts or issues of patronage. "Intellectual milieu" might also provide a means for talking about Machaut's audience his readership, audiences and venues for performance of his musical compositions, and issues of manuscript transmission.

  • Teaching Machaut (organized by Margaret Hasselman, mhasselm@vt.edu, and Janice C. Zinser, janice.c.zinser@oberlin.edu)

    For this session, we welcome papers addressing how you have successfully taught Machaut, especially the Remede de Fortune. We are interested in papers focussing on musical or literary aspects or both, emphasizing new approaches. We are particularly interested in approaches that 1) are useful in an interdisciplinary setting, or 2) use various multimedia materials, such as the NEH-Mt. Holyoke Medieval Lyric materials. Papers should be between 15 and 20 minutes in length.

  • Machaut and Dissonance (organized by Kevin N. Moll, mollk@mail.ecu.edu)

    This session proposes to explore the concept of "dissonance" in the oeuvre of Machaut and his close contemporaries. In Western music generally, the function of dissonance has been to create harmonic tension or motion, and its resolution has been a constant element of style, typically constituting a cornerstone of harmonic theory and practice in various periods. One of the most intriguing aspects of the Ars nova repertoire, however, is precisely that its practical conception of dissonance treatment has proved to be notoriously intransigent to account for, and this is especially true in the music of Machaut himself. By extension, dissonance can also refer to the lack of harmony in non-musical spheres (e.g., poetic structure or content), again presumably requiring (though perhaps not always successfully achieving) resolution. We therefore encourage considerations of all aspects of Machaut's treatment of dissonance, musical and otherwise.

    • Lawrence Earp, "Declamatory Dissonance in Machaut."

      This work is based on research I carried out in reviewing Graeme M. Boone, Patterns in Play: A Model for Text Setting in the Early French Songs of Guillaume Dufay (1999). Based on a study of the thirty-nine Dufay chansons in GB-Ob 213, Boone establishes that Dufay observed an unwritten convention or "model," a set of consistent principles that guided the composer in setting text in his early chansons. In my paper, I will show that the model also lies behind Machaut's texting practices. In effect, departures from the model can be considered as a kind of dissonance, a "declamatory dissonance." Performers will find that awareness of the convention resolves certain ambiguities of text underlay, and projection of the model in performance guides possibilities for phrasing. Finally, we as listeners should train ourselves to hear declamatory consonance and dissonance, since composers self-consciously play off it as a parameter of musical expression.

International Medieval Congress, Kalamazoo, Michigan (2001)

The International Machaut Society sponsored three sessions and a business luncheon at Kalamazoo, May 3-6 2001. Those sessions were all on THURSDAY, MAY 3rd:

  • Thursday, 3 May, 2001, 10:00-11:30 A.M. (Session 012): Valley III 313
    Guillaume de Machaut as Historian
    Presider: Anne Robertson, Univ. of Chicago
    • "Je le vi, pour ce le tesmong": Machaut in the Context of Silesian/French Contacts
      Charles E. Brewer, Florida State Univ.
    • Guillaume de Machaut's Life of Peter I of Cyprus: Fact and Distortion
      R. Barton Palmer
  • Thursday, 3 May, 12 Noon : Valley III 313
    International Machaut Society Business Meeting with Buffet Luncheon
  • Thursday, 3 May, 1:30 P.M. (Session 073): Valley III 313
    Lyric and Narrative in Machaut's Poetry
    Presider: R. Barton Palmer
    • Machaut's Remede de Fortune: Genre and Maturity
      Cynthia Cyrus, Vanderbilt University

      Guillaume de Machaut's Remede de Fortune is a tale of the maturation of a lover and of his emotional initiation into courtly love. Through encounters with his lady and with the allegorical figure of Hope, the lover grows from a naïve, innocent, despairing youth to an optimistic, hopeful, modestly self-promoting courtier. Much of the emotional action, as it were, takes place in a fictionalized Garden of Hesdin and is borne out through the style of lyric insertions chosen to make manifest each stage of the lover's transformation. The choice of lyric genre reflects the relative maturity of the poet/lover.

      In his youth, the lover is garrulous, amused at rhyme patterns, interested in exploiting emotional and verbal extremes, as seen through the lai and the complaint. As he experiences the garden, his thoughts turn to inner ideals balance and symmetry, fin'amours, contemplative love, love that is sufficient unto itself, represented by the chant royal and the baladelle. As he returns from the garden, he finds applying these ideals to be harder in real life than in the realm of imagination or cogitation; he has some luck with the idea of joyful love and fin'amours, but less with the notion of sufficiency and emotional constancy. The ballade and the prayer reflect this stage of his growth. Finally, with the help of his lady, he is brought through to maturity, and his songs--a virelai and a rondelet--reflect the courtly patterns to which the mature poet/lover will return time and again. The themes of these last songs are artful, conventional, and depersonalized; they partake of courtly love, but they do not threaten the established social order. In short, the eight lyrics of the Remede provide an encyclopedic digest of forms and moods, but they also provide an emotional narrative to accompany the larger poetic narrative of Machaut's dit.

  • Thursday, 3 May, 2001, 3:30 P.M. (Session 133): Valley III 313
    Machaut's Music: Secular and Religious
    Presider: R. Barton Palmer
    • Political Allusion in Machaut's Motets 21 and 22
      Anne Robertson, Univ. of Chicago
    • Respondent: Alice V. Clark, Loyola Univ. -- New Orleans

International Medieval Congress, Kalamazoo, Michigan (2000)

The International Machaut Society sponsored three sessions and a business luncheon at Kalamazoo; all events took place on Friday, May 5, 2000.

  • 10 am, Valley III, Room 313: Session 170
    Machaut's Lais: The Voir Dit's "Longuement me fui tenus"
    • Margaret Hasselman (University of Vermont), presider
    • A panel discussion with Maureen Boulton (University of Notre Dame), Virginia Newes (Independent Scholar), Janice C. Zinser (Oberlin College), and Elizabeth Aubrey (University of Iowa)
      • Maureen Boulton: Guillaume de Machaut's 'Lai d'esperance': The Thematic Structure

        The lai falls into three sections of decreasing size the first part, extending from stanza 1 through 5, consists of a series of variations on the double wound of the lady's glance, which inflicts both tormenting Desire and sustaining Hope. In the second part including stanzas 6 through 9, the poet describes the lady and her effect upon him. In stanzas 10-12 which make up the third part, he returns to the competing forces of Desire and Hope, until in the end he relies exclusively on the protection of Hope. In addition to this rather chronological reading, it is possible to see the structure of the lai as concentric In the opening stanza the poet declares that he has surrendered to love, while in the last he announces that he is a true lover. In both the second and eleventh stanzas he describes the pain of the arrow of Desire, which would have killed him, had he not benefited from the consoling presence of Hope.

        In the third, he declares that he will love his lady to the end of his days, while in the tenth declares such a pursuit a 'jolie vie'. The next two pairs of stanzas are in opposition. In the fourth he describes a state of bewilderment as a result of love, while in the ninth he has found his direction- l… [there] - in his lady. Stanzas 5 and 8 oppose vision and speech, but in both he is subject to the will of his lady. In the central pair, he considers that love of such a lady is a 'most noble destiny'; sight of her causes great happiness and delight.

      • Virginia Newes: Symmetry and Dissymmetry in the Music of the Lay de Bonne Esperance

        The Lay de bonne esperance is one of the pivotal lyric interludes in the Livre du Voir-Dit, celebrating the narrator's success in love while acknowledging his debt to Hope. Although designed to enhance its metrical structure, the music of the lai is more than a mere imprint of the text. Even within the framework of a monophonic and largely syllabic setting, the composer's artful play with purely musical features such as ambitus, pitch center, rhythmic articulation, and melodic motive display a level of craft and subtlety worthy of his intricately formed poetry.

        As in most of Machaut's lais, the twelfth and final stanza follows the metrical structure of the first and is sung to the same melody set a fifth higher. This shift in ambitus and pitch center takes place in stages,, evidence of a large-scale plan encompassing all twelve stanzas. At the same time, the melodies of individual stanzas articulate the poetic structure not only by observing line endings and versicle divisions but also through subtle transformations of rhythmic and melodic motives that suggest parallels between sections while avoiding literal repetition.


  • 12 noon, Valley II, Room 200: Business Meeting

  • 1:30 pm, Valley III, Room 313: Session 227
    Machaut's Motets
    • Kevin N. Moll (East Carolina University), presider
    • "Machaut's Motet 5 in Light of New Musical and Literary Sources," Yossi Maurey (University of Chicago)
      The fourteenth century saw a remarkable outburst of mystical religion. Allegorical and mystical treatises found in Reims Cathedral in the time of Machaut form the background of a new investigation into Machaut's motet 5. Considering the Tenor to be the foundational element in the inception and reception of the Ars-Nova Motet, the paper examines both textual and musical ramifications this conception entails. The tenor's text, 'fiat voluntas tua,' is clearly taken from the most common daily prayer in Christianity, the pater noster. Subsequently, I entertain several allegorical interpretations suggested by contemporary mystical writers, which point to a fascinating, if common, interplay between religious and secular themes. A whole set of issues related to the teachings on vices and virtues is then uncovered.

      The tenor's musical source, however, has always remained a mystery. Contributing to the difficulties in identification are the unusual (for Machaut's motets) four-voice texture, and some complex contrapuntal procedures. In addition, given the fact that only eleven fourteenth-century motets have exact matches between their tenor melodies and their corresponding chant segments in extant MSS, it was perhaps not surprising that a convincing musical source has never been suggested. In this paper, I propose that the tenor's melody in Machaut's motet 5 is taken from a popular saint's office which includes a chant containing the text 'fiat voluntas tua.' The melody is found in a MS from a town about 10 miles from Reims. Significantly, two other exact matches of Machaut's tenors come from that city.



    • "Polytextuality in Machaut's Motet 10: Fiery Love, Obedience, and Death as Spiritual Voices," Catherine Saucier (University of Chicago)
      Polytextuality, a hallmark of the medieval motet, continues to perplex and to challenge listeners seeking to penetrate this repertory's often puzzling facade. Many motets thrive on a seemingly eclectic juxtaposition of sacred and secular texts, quoting fragments of scripture and liturgical chant in their tenor voices while developing themes reminiscent of courtly love lyric in their upper voices.

      Machaut's Motet 10, Hareu! Hareu! le feu / Helas! ou sera pris confors / Obediens usque ad mortem, simultaneously presents images of the fire of passionate love alongside willing obedience to the point of death. The two upper voices expose the consequences of an ardent and passionate love which sets the lover's heart on fire. The tenor voice meanwhile evokes Christ's willingness to sacrifice his body on the Cross by quoting the words `obediens usque ad mortem' from the Gradual for the evening mass of Holy Thursday.

      Situating motet texts within their courtly, intellectual, and religious contexts exposes otherwise hidden connections between various images and ideas. Extending our analysis of the motet genre beyond its surface structure into the realm of ideas and patterns of thought from the period during which the genre flourished broadens our horizons of understanding, and allows for a wider range of interpretive possibilities.

      The four central images which constitute the thematic content of Motet 10, fire, love, obedience, and death, can all be situated within the world of medieval courtly love. The metaphors of fire and burning to symbolize desire, in particular, occur frequently in secular love poetry. Keeping these courtly uses of the fire metaphor in mind, we should not, however, allow a secular interpretation to rule out other interpretive possibilities. Images of fire appear in the Bible as well as in sermons, spiritual treatises, and mystic writings throughout the patristic and medieval periods.

      This paper proposes a consideration of the textual content of Motet 10 from a largely spiritual perspective. Following a discussion of the tenor source and its placement within various services in the Christian liturgical year, I proceed to examine interpretations of the themes of fire, love, and death, which Machaut develops in his upper voices, within a selection of spiritual treatises as I look for possible connections between theses themes and the liturgical tone of the tenor voice. I survey passages fom the Song of Songs and the Glossa Ordinaria, as well as mystic writings by Richard of Saint-Victor, Richard Rolle, and Henry Suso, all works which circulated widely within clerical circles of Machaut's period.

      By thoroughly grounding ourselves in the liturgical background of the tenor voice as well as exploring the vast collection of medieval religious writings which elaborate on the themes of the upper voices, we become aware of the wealth of spiritual ideas which connect the textual themes of Motet 10. Familiarity with this pool of associations not only enlarges our resources for interpreting the textual content of Machaut's motet, but allows us to more fully comprehend the polytextual structure of the motet genre.



    • "The Languishing Lover and the Confessed Liar: The Sacred and Secular Voices of Machaut's Motet 14," Nikkola E. Carmichael (University of Chicago)


  • 330 pm, Valley III, Room 313: Session 284
    Machaut's Voir Dit Fact or Fiction?
    • Anne W. Robertson (University of Chicago), presider

    • "Exempla and Exemplary Readers in Guillaume de Machaut's Voir Dit," Nicole Lassahn (University of Chicago)
      The question organizing this session - Voir Dit, fact or fiction, is generally posed of the love problem which provides the piece with its plot movement, and is thus generally answered in one of two ways. One, Fact: Toute-belle is a real person with whom the author had a relationship; or two, Fiction: Toute-belle is not a real person; she and the love relationship detailed in the piece are both entirely fictional. This essay sketches out a way in which the answer to this question can be explored in terms that have nothing at all to do with Guillaume de Machaut's love life or lack thereof. I think we can approach the Voir Dit as a true poem, and true historically, without even engaging the search for Toute-Belle. Moreover, I think that focusing on the love problem as the only, or the primary, means for the dit's interaction with its context closes off important avenues for understanding what goes on in the piece in all its complexity.

      Using the Confort d'Ami as a comparison, this essay explores the ways in which narrative strategies themselves, in particular exemplum and models of ideal kingship, construct the political and historical content of the Voir Dit. I argue that there is a shift from the earlier piece both in that political and historical content, and also in the use of these narrative strategies. This shift is more than a change in the content of the political and military matter represented. It is also a change in attitude toward narrative itself, and what constitutes an appropriate or true narrative. Moreover, it is not simply that political models and narrative strategies are analogs which shift in similar fashion; the two are interconnected here in a necessary way, and when they change, they change together. It is, in fact, the change in the way that exemplum works that shows why the change in political model is necessary. Thus, reading the shift in Machaut's political models turns out to be not only a way in which the Voir Dit is voir, historically, but also a powerful tool for understanding Machaut's work as narrative, and as literature.

    • "Fictional Truth in the Voir Dit: Directions for Further Research and Critical Analysis," R. Barton Palmer (Clemson University)