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
Emerging Approaches: New Research in Machaut Studies
Session 405, 1:30 p.m., Saturday, May 13
Perspectives on Machaut’s First Book (A Roundtable)
Session 457, 3:30 p.m., Saturday, May 13
Other Machaut papers and performances
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 ON PAGE AND SCREEN
Session 459, 3:30 p.m., Saturday, May 14
Other Machaut papers and performances
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
MACHAUT AND HIS ENGLISH CONTEMPORARIES
Session 555, 10:30 a.m., Sunday, May 17
Other Machaut papers and performances
The International Machaut Society sponsored two sessions and a business meeting at the 2014 meeting of the International Congress on Medieval Studies:
The International Machaut Society sponsored three sessions and a business meeting at the 2010 meeting of the International Congress on Medieval Studies:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
famous image of
Guillaume de Machaut shows him reading aloud to a group of listeners (
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
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
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
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,
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.
For the first time since 2002, the International Machaut Society will sponsor two sessions at the International Medieval Congress at the University of Leeds, both on Thursday 10 July:
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 2006 meeting of the International Congress on Medieval Studies; 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.
Can one speak of a “tonal center” in a
medieval motet? There is clearly no sense that a motet must begin and
end on the same sonority, and a modern sense of tonal “coherence”
obviously does not apply to medieval music in general and to the motet
in particular, but is there any way in which the final is more than
simply the last sonority heard? How can a medieval composer organize
harmony in a motet, which is usually based on a chant fragment that
belongs to a wholly different, modal, system? I would like to begin to
investigate these questions by examining a small group of
fourteenth-century motets, mostly by Guillaume de Machaut, that share a
single final (D), to see if one can locate any sense of a D
“tonality”—or indeed if (as is the case a bit later, as Cristle Collins
Judd has shown) there may in fact be several ways of projecting such a
tonality. This is a useful test group not only because it is relatively
small (a total of nine motets, including two based on secular songs and
three that do not have identified chant sources), but also because it
includes cases where the motet final is different from the final of the
tenor’s chant source. This difference between chant mode and tenor
final may have an effect on tonal issues, influencing for instance the
composer’s choice of secondary tonal areas. Scholars have not paid much
attention to this aspect, but preliminary work by the present author
suggests it is worth further study. This investigation will also as
needed include a consideration of how tonalities are projected in
polyphonic songs, where harmonic issues are in some ways clearer.
This paper will focus on the distinct voice-roles of the triplum and motetus in Machaut’s three-part motets. Traditionally, these parts are perceived as being differentiated only by their ranges, but closer study reveals that each voice is governed by different melodic and contrapuntal guidelines. Similarly, certain rhythmic gestures are consistently found in one, but not both, of the two upper voices. A difference in the rates of text-declamation also helps to desinate the triplum from the motetus, since triplum, with its longer text, tends towards shorter note-values. In several of the motets, the two voices also differ in content, whether due to different languages, or different viewpoints. In some cases, as with Motet 14, the two narratives actually contradict each other.
Once these voice-roles are investigated, I will consider the function of voice-crossings in selected motets. Since range is a basic identity-marker for a voice in a 14th-century motet, voice-crossings provide an opportunity for the individual voices to behave in uncharacteristic ways. I have previously discussed the semantic role of the 11-breve voice-crossing in Motet 14. Similar uses of voice-crossings may be seen in Motets 15 and 12. In the case of the latter, the upset in the natural order of the voices can be linked with the goddess Fortuna, as it is in Motet 14. In several other motets, brief crossings of the motetus over the triplum are used to clarify the poetic structure of the text by bringing to the musical foreground the beginning of a new phrase.
Special consideration will be given to
the two motets that begin with the motetus above the triplum.
The case of Motet 12, in which the voices switch roles exactly halfway
through the piece, will be used to explore Machaut’s manipulation of
the “stereotypical” voice-roles that may be seen in his other motets.
The V&A Missal of Saint-Denis (London,
Victoria and Albert Museum, Ms. L. 1346-1891), several miniatures of
which have been attributed to the “Master of the Remède de Fortune”
in the Machaut manuscript (Paris, B.n.F. Ms. Fr. 1586), includes two
folios illuminated with the foundation legends of the abbey of
Saint-Denis. My analysis of these unusual miniatures, rarely
found in the illuminated service books at Saint-Denis as well as at
other churches, reveals an intricate relationship among the liturgical,
hagiographical, and visual resources available to the monks of
Saint-Denis in the mid-fourteenth century. By associating the
visual images used to embellish two of the most important Dionysian
feasts with liturgical readings based on the hagiographic literature, I
emphasize that the employment of the gifted artist like the Remède
de Fortune Master was most suitable for the special images
depicting the abbey’s patron saint and its prominent royal patron, King
In addition to his role as a
Benedictine prior, Gautier de Coinci (c. 1177-1236) was a poet and a
songwriter. He is best known for his French octosyllabic verses
that recount 58 miracles of the Virgin Mary; he was also the first to
compose sacred Marian songs in the vernacular. Gautier’s literary
success is attested by the survival of 95 manuscripts that contain at
least a fragment of his text. A large proportion of the Gautier
de Coinci codices are illustrated, and this extensive body of imagery
has received surprisingly little scholarly attention. This paper
will focus primarily upon the visual aspects of the deluxe early 14th-century
copy that was illustrated by Jean Pucelle and his collaborators.
The survival of 78 high-quality images in this manuscript gives us a
unique opportunity to examine relationships between the illuminations,
the poetic verses, and the songs. This paper considers the full
cycle of minatures in relation to their codicological surroundings for
the first time. For example, n.acq.fr. 24541 features variations
in its mise-en-page, and emphases are created by both the sizes and the
placement of the images. Furthermore, n.acq.fr. 24541, along with
Besançon, Bibliothèque municipale ms. 551, are the only two manuscripts
that contain illustrations to Gautier’s songs. This paper will
also address some of the manuscript’s complex image-text relationships,
including the one divergence from and several additions to the
narrative. It will uncover several subtle additions in the
iconography, in micro-narratives such as the Jew of Bourges and
the Marian Image Insulted, that serve to deepen the didactic
messages of the miracles. N.acq.fr. 24541 provides us with an
example of (pre-Wagnerian) artistic synthesis, and it also reveals ways
in which imagery combined with the music and the text can tailor
meanings in a codex, updating it for a 14th-century royal
audience and context.
The illuminated manuscripts containing the
collected music and literature of Guillaume de Machaut present a rich
opportunity to explore image-music-text rapports. The miniature heading
the motets in MS A (of c. 1370) – possibly made under Machaut’s
supervision – depicts a group of men standing around a wine keg,
who sing from a scroll. This paper will touch on three aspects of the
miniature which may lead to breakthroughs in understanding the creation
and use of this manuscript: iconography, patronage and image-music
rapports. The varied secular and clerical dress of the men distinctly
sets this image apart from the religious iconographic tradition.
The iconography used here in A reappears in both another
Machaut MS and “Giovanni de’Grassi’s” sketchbook (c. 1380-1400). The
latter is connected with the Visconti family into which Isabelle de
France, daughter of Machaut patroness Bonne de Luxembourg, married in
1360. Was it copied from MS A, giving us an idea of patronage? Isabelle
and her daughter, Valentina, were known for their love of music,
dancing and the harp. Third, I will address rapports with the motet it
precedes (Quant en moy / Amour, M1).
Among Guillaume de Machaut's large body of works carefully assembled into manuscripts of his complete works, Machaut's motets, with their polyphonic settings of multiple texts, are an intriguing instance of a joining of his musical and poetic genres. This paper will show that Motet 12 (Helas! pour quoy virent / Corde mesto / Libera me) is a particularly interesting example of Machaut's amalgamation of genre.
With a French triplum and Latin motetus, it is one of his two bilingual motets. The complaint against Fortune, explicit in the motetus and implicit in the triplum readily suggest Machaut's narrative poem Remede de Fortune and, by extension, Boethius's Consolation of Philosophy, already a model for Machaut in Remede. The text of the triplum and motetus, taking on different guises of courtly and clerkly respectively, could be seen as a direct recasting of the Lover's complaint against Fortune in Remede.
Musically Motet 12 is about song. The tenor even begins, "With a sad heart I complain in song." The three colors of the isorhythmic structure seem to divide the whole motet into three stanzas and already match the three stanzas of the Latin poem in the motetus. There even exists in each color a refrain-like passage, in which all the voices participate, reminiscent of the formes fixes.
With its simultaneous sounding of different texts, the medieval motet presents many obstacles to understanding, which can be turned around to become interpretive windows into these textually dense works. Kevin Brownlee proposes the existence of “three different but complementary kinds of intertextuality” in operation in motets: dialogue between the upper voices, dialogue between the upper voices and an external source, and dialogue between the upper voices and the meaning of the tenor in its original liturgical context. According to this formulation, motet texts have not only their own meaning, but also the meaning created through the interaction of the texts. With Machaut’s motet 7 as a focal point, this study aims to investigate the various sources of meaning created in such a piece. Some sources of meaning include the poetic texts, the interactions of the poetic texts in the motet, the role motet 7 plays in the larger collection of Machaut’s motets, and the musical-poetic structure of the motet.
The first portion of this paper addresses
the intertextuality of the motet texts, noting specifically the complex
(and potentially multiple) gendering of the voices, while tracing the
themes of betrayal and mercy that obtain in all three texts.
Moving to the level of poetic and musical structure, the second portion
of the study examines how the textual themes are reflected in certain
numeric features of the structure of the motet – the numbers 13 and 17
gird the poetic-musical structure of motet 7 and are tied in Christian
numerology to betrayal and mercy.
This paper supports Anne Walters
Robertson's contention that the motet cycle that is included in
Machaut's works in this genre comprises 17 compositions. The
question of the significance of numbers (structural and referential) in
this repertory is addressed. The reasons why the story of Joseph,
and not that of Christ as Harrower of Hell occupies the center of this
motet cycle are explained.
The International Machaut Society sponsored two sessions and a business luncheon on Saturday 8 May 2004.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The International Machaut Society sponsored two sessions and a business luncheon at Kalamazoo; all events took place on Saturday May 10th, 2003.
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.
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.
Please note that session descriptions stem from the original call for papers
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
The International Machaut Society sponsored three sessions and a business luncheon at Kalamazoo; all events took place on Friday, May 5, 2000.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.