In a message dated 2/14/2016 6:34:15 P.M. Eastern Standard Time,
"[V]ery little is known about those early troubadours. Some poems have
come down to us in the Provencal language but not the music that went with
If it was French (and not Italian) it was possibly boring!
"Troubadours went through something that would today be called Troubadour
I think the German meistersinger are related!
"Perhaps they would make up the melodies as they sang, or sing melodies
that would change from troubadour to troubadour."
God knows. Provençal is pretty musical, though --. I would think the
harmony the troubadour provided with his lute was just like a 'continuous
as the Italians who later created 'opera' in Florence, would put it?
"Arnaud de Marveil is one of that very limited number of Trobadours who are
known to have admired and celebrated one lady only. This unity of object
would give an additional interest to his pieces, if all of them were yet
extant, or if we could only succeed in arranging those which are left us
according to the order in which they were produced. Sweetness and an elegant
correctness constitute the principal characteristics of his poetry."
Perhaps it was what Plato called "The Lady" (as in "The Lady in the Van"),
i.e. the _idea_ of a lady. The keyword here seems to be courtly love.
Helm goes on:
"These troubadours wrote their own material. I don't recall if
troubadours borrowed each other's stuff. Since they were singing their
to some particular lady it doesn't seem reasonable that they would, unless
they were being devious."
They say Henry VIII wrote "Greensleeves" was one of his ladies. Apparently,
the sleeves would be green after some adventure on the grass. But of
course the troubadors came earlier.
"Moving back into these modern times, it seems that we can now preserve
not only the words of songs but the singing of them as well -- a very recent
development. If one listens to the poor recordings of opera singers of the
1920s one must take the word of critics who claim they were great, for we
can't tell it from the very poor recordings."
My favourite hobby is to read reviews of Rubini, whose voice wasn't even
recorded, but surely he was the best! (to judge by the sublime music Bellini
wrote for him).
"But these singers, we now note, were the performers of the music written
by others and if they lived before technology made it possible to listen to
them at their best, their performing ability has been lost but not so the
written compositions. The creative artists were the composers who may or
may not have performed their work as well: Rossini, Mozart, Bellini,
Puccini, Verdi, Wagner, etc."
I think Wagner admired meistersinger, though. I.e. the ability to
IMPROVISE. Tannhaeuser is all about that. And oddly enough, Weber's "EURIANTE",
that predates any Wagner, is also about the ability of a French count to
improvise on love.
I'm less sure about folksong. When Sharp collected folksongs in the
Appalachians (say, "Barbary Allen") it might well be the case that the singers
(he wrote down their first name, last name, and location) improvised to him,
and he thought he was hearing a 'folk song'.
"But today it seems enough, more than enough, to be an excellent
performer, actor, singer. We don't care so much about compositions any longer
of course poetry is all about composition so who needs it? We could say
that Anne Sexton was a superb performer, but that wasn't her goal. She was
doing it to pay the Psychiatrists who were hastening her death."
Performance is still important in cabaret. As in "Fly me to the moon" --
which started as a cabaret song. Cabaret singers intend to have their
addressees think they are 'improvising', but of course they are not!
I think, o. t. o. h., Cole Porter WOULD improvise -- but using the rudest
language (But then he was a Yalie!)
Soldiers like to improvise. In the film "Privates on Parade", by Nichols,
there is a long sequence where they improvise -- on "Greensleeves" -- and
much of "Oh It's a lovely war", the play and film, is also about ways
soldiers improvised on stuff like pop hits ("I wore a tunic") and hymns
"Now it is true that if a poet acquires celebrity, grows her name, it will
benefit her in the eyes of those who aren't poets. But the day will come
when some professor like Hughes will ask his class, "what do you think of
Anne Sexton, major or minor?" And when no one in the class has the courage to
voice an opinion, he will waggle one of his hands and say, "minor, I will
Another would say, "How STRANGE
-------------------------- THE CHANGE
---------------------------from MAJOR to minor -- there's no love song
"though her poems and the biographies about her will maintain her
celebrity in good condition, probably for a long time."
Indeed. Great performer!
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