IIB: Music of the Minstrels

The Troubadour did not perform his songs himself, but employed others called Jongleurs in Provençal, Ménéstrel in French, and Minstrel in English.

At that time the term rondeau, rondellus, ronde or rota was also applied to the dance song, and the ballata also belonged to this classification. Wandering players carried these dance-songs from village to village. from country to country, and from the nobility to the people. Thus it is being told that the troubadour Raimon de Mirval helped his jongleur Bayonne with a new dancesong when the latter found himself in need.

The jongleurs and ménéstrels would also get their listeners to dance by playing on such instruments as the hand organ, fiedel, fife, or shawm. These instrumental compositions were called a danse or ductia or, when they were more complicated, estampie (French), estampid a(Provençal) or stantipes (Latin). However, the ease with which instrumental dances and vocal dances could go together is shown by the charming little incident which took place at the castle of the Duke of Montferrat. Here, two French jongleurs were delighting everyone by playing a new estampida on their fifes. The only one to be heavyhearted was the troubadour Raimbaut de Vaqueiras , secret lover of the beautiful Beatrice, sister of the duke. When Beatrice requested Raimbaut to sing a song and become cheerful once more, he quickly took up the melody of the estampida which the players had just performed to the words of his song Kalenda maya, ni fuehls de faya. Its direct origin from the folk-dance immortalized it as one of the most graceful dance songs of its period.

A Partial Discography of Music of the Minstrels  |  The Research Periods