Interpolating the Musical Text of the Lyric Interpolations: Guillaume de Dole the Trouvere Manuscript Tradition

Interpolating the Musical Text of the Lyric Interpolations:Guillaume de Dole the Trouvere Manuscript Tradition

Callahan, Christopher

Essays in Medieval Studies, vol. 8 (1991)


The early 13th century romance of Guillaume de Dole, more properly known as the Romance of the Rose, constitutes by its diverse collection of song types the oldest chansonnier that we possess. Written around 1230, it presents the most popular trouvère and troubadour songs, chansons de toile, pastourelles, and caroles of the day. We observe these lyric pieces, which number 46 in all, as they are performed by and for members of the German imperial court. Not only is the lyric contained in this narrative featured as the expression of a largely oral culture, but the narrative voice engages the reader’s participation in such a way as to suggest that the romance itself was intended to be performed. Much more than in any other Old French romance, the discursive features of the narrative text are those of the oral story-teller who addresses not a reader, but an extremely partial audience. Under these conditions, it would be entirely natural for the performer of the story to sing the lyric fragments, which extend to two stanzas at most the courtly songs and to a couplet or a refrain for the less aristocratic genres.

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