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Title: Contextualising the contrafacta of trouvere song
Author: Quinlan, Meghan
ISNI:       0000 0004 6501 1253
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2017
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Scholarship on medieval contrafacture has long been engaged in the Kontrafakturjagd, the hunt for songs whose textual and structural similarities suggest they might also share melodies. By making melodies freely exchangeable, this practice has tended to treat the music of medieval song as if it were an empty vessel, overlooking the ways in which contrafacta might construct musical meaning to serve various political, devotional, or aesthetic ends. Rather than making a case for contrafacture among songs whose shared melodies are questionable, this dissertation provides a context rich perspective on certain groups of 'close contrafacta' - songs whose status as contrafacta is already known and supported by strong musical, textual, and contextual evidence. In five case studies, all of which take at least one song from the trouvère repertory, and which represent the most common contrafact genres - political serventois, Marian song, and crusade song - I consider the ways in which their melodies could signify. More specifically, I examine the interrelated layers of the melody's performed sound structures, its cuing of previous texts on the listener, and its integration of old and new contexts. The case studies reveal a culture that cared about melodic association and used it in sophisticated ways. In the first two chapters, which address political contrafacture, the music's textual associations form a background against which the contrafact text reacts ironically, while its melodic origins evoke precise geopolitical loyalties or antagonisms. The third and fourth chapters on Marian song, conversely, point toward efforts to intensify and develop a song's meaning through contrafacture, while the fifth chapter's contrafact text cites its own affective reason for melodic re-use. In all case studies, not only does the music cue text and context synoptically; its performed structures also intensify and subvert textual meanings, showing how music can enrich literary interpretations of medieval song.
Supervisor: Leach, Elizabeth Eva Sponsor: University of Oxford ; Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Musicology ; Medieval Studies ; courtly song ; contrafacture ; medieval music ; medieval song ; vernacular song