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Title: Constructing Minnesang musically
Author: Hope, Henry
ISNI:       0000 0004 4364 1836
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2013
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While troubadour and trouvère repertoires have recently received fresh attention from music scholars, the study of medieval German vernacular song—Minnesang—continues to be located firmly outside the canon(s) of musicology. The present thesis seeks to re-insert Minnesang into musicological discourse by demonstrating the ways in which the repertoire has been constructed as musical, both by the creators of medieval manuscript sources and by modern scholars. The modern ontology of music as defined by notation and performance has prevented scholars from understanding manuscripts such as the Codex Manesse (C) as intrinsically musical. While the texts alone may have sufficed to enable their intended audiences to view them as musical entities, C’s 137 author miniatures further contribute to the manuscript’s musicality: the Minnesänger are depicted as authors and experiencing personae, revealing a strong concern for oral communication—which, in the Middle Ages, was inherently musical. The Jenaer Liederhandschrift (J) and other manuscripts equally reveal their musicality when scrutinised beyond the search for musical notation: through ordering and folio design. The thesis establishes the influence exerted by previous scholarship on today’s lack of interest in the music of Minnesang, and outlines the importance of scholarly discourse and its study in a historiographical context. Before the 1970s, an existing musical discourse on Minnesang encouraged musicologists and philologists to continue to engage in it—despite the fact that the dominant interest in contrafacture and rhythm found few answers in the surviving source material. A concluding case study of Walther von der Vogelweide’s Palästinalied exemplifies the musicality of medieval manuscripts and its complex (mis)construction by modern scholarship. The thesis provides the basis for a fresh assessment of the music of Minnesang: beyond the confines of modern ontologies of music, and as part of the study of medieval song.
Supervisor: Leach, Elizabeth Eva Sponsor: Arts and Humanities Research Council
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Medieval music ; German ; Minnesang ; medieval song ; manuscripts ; historiography ; musicology