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Title: Accommodating poetic, linear narratives with cyclical, repetition-based musical-poetic structures in the Cantigas de Santa Maria
Author: Drummond, Henry T.
ISNI:       0000 0004 7652 1849
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2017
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Central to the world of thirteenth-century Galician-Portuguese song are the Cantigas de Santa Maria (CSM), of which the cantigas de miragre are the focus of this study. This body of Marian miracle narratives is not without its hermeneutical complications. The songs' musical-poetic forms largely comprise alternations between a refrain, and strophes that finish by reiterating the refrain's metre, rhymes and melody. Combining the strictly linear narrative of the miracle cantiga with this cyclical framework poses manifold complications. Seemingly self-contained narrative logic is divided by interstrophic refrains, and chains of thought are divided. This setup in the cantigas de miragre is rendered all the more curious, given that few comparable instances of cyclical structure and linear narrative occur elsewhere in late-medieval vernacular repertory. In essence, concatenating the linear with the circular does not typically work in narrative song. This thesis is the first scholarly work that examines how the cantigas de miragre navigates this dichotomy. Parsing the musical, poetic and narrative structures of a selection of songs, Part I of the thesis demonstrates how the sonically tenacious refrain, when recapped within strophes, works to highlight the narrative thrust of a miracle story. The memorially marked recurrence of refrain metre, rhymes and melody functions as a device to separate the narratively central from the extraneous. It thereby exposes a miracle song's essential message to its audience. Given late-medieval attitudes towards sonic repetition and memory-as well as a deeply ingrained awareness of the power of rhetoric-it is understandable that such a manner of declamation arose from the cantiga de miragre's cyclical form. As Part I sets out this theory, songs are considered in more detail in the case studies that make up Part II. Here, the multifaceted nature of the repertory is shown to influence the way Part I's theory is applied. These case studies all comprise different musical-poetic structures that manipulate the cantiga de miragres' approach towards sonically turning back. The way these diverse structures coexist alongside their narratives indicates that the cantigas de miragres' text-music relationships are far more intimate and complicated than existing scholarship has considered up until now.
Supervisor: Leach, Elizabeth Eva Sponsor: Clarendon Fund ; Merton College ; Oxford
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Cantigas de Santa Mari´a (Alfonso X, King of Castile and Leon)