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Article

Eckhard Neubauer

(b Baghdad, July 779; d Samarra’, July 839). Arab musician. He was a son of the Abbasid Caliph al-Mahdī and a Persian slave at court called Shikla. He became famous for his fine and powerful voice with its range of four octaves, and first took part in court concerts during the reigns of Hārūn al-Rashīd (786–809) and al-Amīn (809–13). Proclaimed caliph in 817 in opposition to al-Ma’mūn (813–33), he had to abdicate after barely two years and went into hiding. In 825 he was pardoned and became a court musician once more under al-Ma’mūn and his successor al-Mu‘taṣim (833–42). He was a follower of the school of Ibn Jāmi‘ and represented a ‘soft’ style, probably influenced by Persian music, which also allowed freedom in rendering older works. His rival Isḥāq al-Mawṣilī accused him of stylistic uncertainty; fragments of their polemic writings are quoted in the Kitāb al-aghānī al-kabīr...

Article

Owen Wright

[ibn Ghaybī al-Marāghi]

(b Maragh; d Herat, 1435). Timurid composer, performer and theorist. He first rose to prominence in the service of the Jalā’irid rulers of Iraq and Azerbaijan, al-Ḥusayn (1374–82) and Aḥmad (1382–1410). After the conquest of Baghdad by Tīmūr (1393), most of his career was spent in Samarkand and, especially, Herat, at the courts of Tīmūr and of his successors al-Khalīl (1404–9) and Shāh Rukh (1409–47).

‘Abd al-Qādir was one of the most important and influential theorists of the Systematist school. His most substantial surviving works are the Jāmi‘ al-al ḥān (‘Compendium of melodies’), largely completed in 1405 and revised in 1413, and the slighter Maqāṣid al-al ḥān (‘Purports of melodies’), which covers essentially the same ground and probably dates from 1418. Written in Persian, which was by then the language of culture, these works proved particularly influential among later 15th-century theorists; but although both thoughtful and highly competent, on the theoretical side they may be regarded as, essentially, restatements and amplifications of the theory elaborated by ...

Article

Owen Wright

(fl first half of the 11th century). Arab musician and writer. The son of an eminent musician, he became a prominent singer at the Cairo court of the Fatimid caliph al-Ẓāhir (1021–36), and was still active as a teacher in 1057. His music treatise, completed after 1036 and entitled Ḥāwī al-funūn wa-salwat al-maḥzūn (‘Compendium of the arts to comfort sad hearts’), is of particular interest in that it deals with various topics of little concern to other authorities. Written from the perspective of a cultured musician rather than that of a philosopher-theorist, it calls upon a literary tradition of writing about music, and its historical content is frankly derivative, even if of interest for the implication of continuity with the court music of 9th-century Baghdad. But it is wide-ranging in its treatment of contemporary practice, dealing not only with such basics as mode and rhythm, but also with such matters as the normal sequence of events in performance, deportment and etiquette, the materials and construction of the ‘...

Article

Maria V. Coldwell

(fl late 12th century). Troubadour. She exchanged a tenso with Giraut de Bornelh, S’ieus quier conseil, bel’ amig’ Alamanda (PC 242.69). The music survives in one manuscript ( F-Pn f.f. 22543, f.8r; ed. in H. van der Werf and G. Bond: The Extant Troubadour Melodies, Rochester, NY, ...

Article

Gordon A. Anderson

revised by Thomas B. Payne

[Archpoet]

(b ?Cologne, c1130; d shortly after1165). Latin lyric poet. His real name is unknown. He was a German or French clerk of knightly birth whose patronage by Reinald of Dassel, Archbishop of Cologne and Archchancellor to Emperor Friedrich Barbarossa may have given rise to his pseudonym. He travelled throughout Germany and to Austria and Italy, where he was desperately ill in 1165. He must have written many Latin poems, but only ten survive; additions to his corpus present problems of ascription, since his name was sometimes conferred honorarily on later poets. His poetic technique follows that of his older contemporary Hugh Primas, but with less spite and more wit. The Confessio, written at Pavia, is his greatest achievement and illustrates his best characteristics: a keen knowledge of biblical and classical authors, ingenious rhythm and supreme rhyming skill, great wit and genial humour, cunning word-play and melodious cadence. No melodies are known for his poems. His poetic style is mirrored in a number of Notre Dame conductus texts....

Article

Benoit  

Pamela F. Starr

[Benedictus SiredeBenoctus de FranciaBenenoitBenedette di Giov. dito BenoitBenotto di GiovanniBenottus de Ferraria]

(fl 1436–55). French singer and composer. He was probably from the archdiocese of Sens in Haute-Bourgogne. His works appear in 15th-century musical sources under the name Benoit, but an authoritative papal document identifies him as Benedictus Sirede. He is first documented in 1436–7, as a singer for the confraternity of Orsanmichele in Florence. In 1438 he was recruited in Ferrara by Lorenzo de' Medici for the cathedral and baptistry choir of Florence, becoming choirmaster in 1439. He resigned from this position on 23 January 1448. From 1448 to 1450 he served in the chapel of Leonello d'Este in Ferrara; he was also a member of the papal chapel from December 1447 to February 1448, and again from January 1451 to October 1455.

Six works by Benoit survive, probably composed in the 1430s and 40s. All are in manuscripts copied in northern Italy during this period: I-Bc Q15, MOe...

Article

Theodore Karp

[Bregi]

(b ?1150–55; d before Aug 1220). French trouvère. Ruins of the castle once occupied by the poet still stand at Berzé-le-Châtel, northwest of Mâcon, in Burgundy. The family, a powerful one, is traceable to the early 1100s; Hugues’ uncle was archdeacon of the abbey of St Vincent. According to Villehardouin, Hugues IV and his father were among those who announced their taking of the cross at Cîteaux on 14 September 1201. Hugues spent several years in the Near East and returned to France sometime before 1216. Only Gautier, one of his two known sons, is named as the family head in a document of 1220.

Hugues is known as the author of eight chansons and a lengthy moralizing poem, La bible au seigneur de Berzé. The latter was probably modelled upon a similar work by the trouvère Guiot de Provins, who was for some time in the service of the Count of Mâcon. The work relates some of the brutal experiences of the poet and censures the conduct of both clergy and laity. Of the chansons, five are entirely decasyllabic, one primarily so. Hugues’ most famous work, the ...

Article

(b c1160; d Dec 17, 1219 or 1220). French trouvère. He was the fifth son of Robert V (‘le Roux’), seigneur of Béthune, and Alix de Saint-Pol; his birthplace was presumably Béthune. As a young man he is known to have spent time at the French court. His name may be traced in documents from 1180. The chansons Ahi, amours, con dure departie and Bien me deüsse targier, apparently written in 1188, indicate that he prepared for the Third Crusade (1188–92). In Bien me deüsse targier he named Huon d'Oisi as his teacher; Huon, who died at the siege of Acre in 1191, reproached Conon in one of his own songs (R.1030) for having left the crusade prematurely. Two chansons by Blondel de Nesle are dedicated to Conon. Chançon legiere a entendre is dedicated to Noblet (Guillaume V de Garlande), a friend of Gace Brulé. It is likely that Conon also knew the Chastelain de Couci, another trouvère who participated in the Third Crusade. Conon took part in the Fourth Crusade (...

Article

Ian D. Bent

[Blakesmit, Blakismet]

(fl c1261). English singer. One of three Englishmen described by the late 13th-century theorist Anonymus 4 as ‘good singers’ of mensural polyphony, who sang with great refinement (‘valde deliciose’). The theorist referred to him as ‘Blakesmit, at the court of the late King Henry [III]’. He was clerk of the king's chapel in ...

Article

Theodore Karp

[Blason, Blazon]

(d after March 1229). French trouvère. He was Seneschal of Poitou, and of a noble family with holdings in Blason and Mirabel; his uncle, Maurice, was Bishop of Poitiers. Thibaut was among the negotiators of the truce of 1214 between King Philip II Augustus of France and King John of England. Together with Hue de la Ferté, he was among the nobles at the coronation of Louis IX (St Louis). He took part in a crusade against the Moors in 1212, and participated in the siege of Toulouse in 1218 during the Albigensian crusade. His name appears with that of Amauri de Craon (also a trouvère) in a document of 1219. Thibaut IV, King of Navarre, dedicated a song, De ma dame souvenir (R.1467), to Thibaut de Blaison; he also based a religious poem (R.1475) on the structure and melody of Thibaut de Blaison’s ...

Article

Roger Bowers

(fl c1370). English musician. The sole extant reference to his work occurs in the text of the motet Sub Arturo/Fons citharizancium/In omnem terram (see Alanus, Johannes, perhaps composed in 1372 or 1373. Its upper voice praises some 14 English musicians, recording a lively and productive group of composers, singers and instrumentalists then active in court circles, of whom Richard Blich was one: his ‘works please both holy people and rulers’. All the named musicians so far identified were active at some point in their careers in the English Chapel Royal between about 1340 and 1405 (during the reigns of Edward III, Richard II and Henry IV), or in the chapel of the Black Prince (d 1376). It is possible that Blich may be identifiable with the Richard Blithe who was admitted a Gentleman of the Chapel Royal between 1406 and 1413 and remained so until his death in ...

Article

Theodore Karp

(b c1165; d between Oct 1, 1209 and Feb 2, 1210). French trouvère. Though a poet by profession, he may have been attached to the magistracy of Arras as sergeant. He apparently enjoyed the protection of the mayor, Sauwalon Huchedieu, and other wealthy people. He was an original, versatile and influential writer whose works include the Chanson de Saisnes (a long epic dealing with Charlemagne), nine fabliaux, the Jeu de Saint Nicolas and the Congés (in which he bade farewell to his friends and native city after contracting leprosy in 1202, a circumstance that prevented his joining the Fourth Crusade). Of musical interest are a group of five pastourelles, ascribed to Bodel chiefly in the Manuscrit du Roi ( F-Pn fr.844). However, owing to the loss of a folio in this source, most melodies are unica in the Chansonnier de Noailles ( F-Pn fr.12615). Except for Les un pin verdoiant...

Article

Robert Falck

revised by John Haines

(b Autafort [now Hautefort], ?1150; d Dalon, nr Hautefort, before 1215). Troubadour. His birthplace was in the Périgord region of the former province of Limousin; he was lord of the family castle at Autafort. In about 1195 he entered the Cistercian monastery at Dalon, Ste Trie, and remained there until his death. He is probably best known for his praise of military and political exploits; in the eighth circle of Dante’s Inferno he is referred to as the ‘headless trunk that followed in the tread … and by the hair held its severed head’. He was punished in this way because he was the instigator of the quarrels between Henry II and his sons in the 1180s. Though his actual participation in these events has possibly been exaggerated by his medieval biographers, many of his poems do refer to the events directly or indirectly.

Of over 40 poems attributed to Bertran, only one, ...

Article

Theodore Karp

(b c1200; d 1240). French trouvère. A younger son of Robert II de Dreux and his second wife, Yolanta de Couci, he became Count of Mâcon and Vienne through his marriage to Alix, granddaughter of Guillaume V. He died during the crusade of 1239 led by Thibaut IV of Champagne, King of Navarre. Moniot d'Arras addressed one of his chansons (R.739) to Jehan, whose nephew, Jehan I, dit le Roux, was undoubtedly the trouvère cited as the Comte de Bretagne. One pastourelle and two chansons d'amour are attributable to Jehan de Braine: Par desous l'ombre d'un bois, R.1830, Pensis d'amours, joians et corociés, R.1345, and Je n'os chanter trop tart ne trop souvent, R.733 (all ed. in CMM, cvii, 1997). The reading of the second of these in the Manuscrit du Roi ( F-Pn fr.844) ends on the seldom-used final b, while that in the Chansonnier de Noailles (...

Article

Theodore Karp

(b c1210; d Arras, 1272). French trouvère. His grandfather, Jacques, was ‘sergent héréditaire’ of the abbey of St Vaast in Arras at the turn of the 13th century, one of eight officials supervising the water rights to the river Scarpe within the abbey's domain; his father (also named Jehan) held this position at least from 1241 until his death in 1244. The poet is cited among the ‘sergens iretavles de la riviere Saint-Vaast’ in a document of 1256. He and his brother were apparently well-to-do property owners.

Seven of an original series of eight chansons courtoises by Bretel survive in the Vatican ( I-Rvat Reg.lat.1490), but jeux-partis form his main contribution. He was apparently a participant in 89 such works, nearly half of the surviving total. Often these are without rubrics, and the names of the participants are revealed in the poems. (The attribution to Bretel of a few poems addressed merely to ‘Sire’ or ‘Sire Jehan’, while probably correct, is not certain.) Some 40 poets active around Arras in the mid-13th century appear either as participants or judges in these jeux-partis; among the more prominent are Adam de la Halle, Jehan de Grieviler, Jehan le Cuvelier d'Arras, Lambert Ferri, Perrin d'Angicourt, Gaidifer d'Avion, Adam de Givenchi, Jehan de Renti, Robert de la Piere and Robert de Castel. The jeux-partis between Bretel and Adam de la Halle are normally grouped among Adam's works in the manuscripts even though most are initiated by Bretel, whereas some jeux-partis between Bretel and lesser trouvères are placed within sections devoted to Bretel even though in these he is only the respondent. A chanson by Bretel (...

Article

Theodore Karp

(b c1160; d after 1213). French trouvère. Gace’s shield was banded in red and silver (burelé de gueules et d’argent de huit pièces, and his name is merely a description of this blazonry, altered through the transposition of two letters. The name can be traced in two documents of 1212 and 1213: the first indicates that he owned land in Groslière (département Eure-et-Loire, arrondissement Dreux) and that he had dealings with the Knights Templar; the second records a gift from the future Louis VIII. Apart from these facts, all other biographical information about Gace rests on clues provided within his poetry. It is reasonably certain that he was born in Champagne, and that his home may have been Nanteuil-les-Meaux (département Seine-et-Marne, arrondissement Meaux). He appears to have spent some time at the court of Count Geoffrey II of Brittany, son of King Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine. The Count of Brittany is mentioned in ...

Article

Theodore Karp

(fl c1260–80). French trouvère. The period of his activity has been postulated largely on the basis of his poetic style. He wrote four chansons courtoises, a pastourelle, and six chansons and a rotrouenge in honour of the Virgin. No work survives with music, although melodies for two are recoverable since the Berne manuscript (...

Article

Stephen Haynes

revised by Gwynn Spencer McPeek

[Capduill, Capduoill, Cabdueill, Capduch, Capduelh, Capdueil, Chapteuil] [Pontius de Capitolio]

(fl before 1190–after 1220). Troubadour. According to the brief medieval vida, he was a knight from the diocese of Puy-Ste-Marie-en-Velay (Haute-Loire). He can probably be identified with the Pontius de Capitolio who is documented from 1195 to 1220 in relation to his wife's property of Vertaizon, and who seems to have died by 1236. He must have been well known as a courtly poet by about 1190, to judge from a poem by Elias de Barjols which praises his ‘guaieza’ (literally ‘cheerfulness’, but with connotations of courtly elegance and general good breeding). At about this time he may also have exchanged verses with Folquet de Marseille and with the Catalan Guillem de Berguedà. His crusading songs have been convincingly dated to c1213, and two of his poems may be addressed to Beatrice of Savoy, who married Raymond-Berenger IV, Count of Provence, in 1217–19. The lady Azalaïs or Alazais, whose death he commemorated in a ...

Article

Theodore Karp

(fl c1240–60). French trouvère. He was probably active around the mid-13th century since two of his chansons (Fine amours and Puis que j'ai) are dedicated to Jehan de Dampierre (d 1259), and one (N'est pas sage) to Duke Henry III of Brabant (reigned 1248–61). Fine amours m’envoie begins with four pentasyllables, but Carasaus otherwise employed only heptasyllabic and decasyllabic lines. All melodies are cast in bar form; while strict repetition is not present in the caudas, interesting examples of varied repetition and of motivic play occur in N'est pas sage qui me tourne a folie and Pour ce me sui de chanter entremis respectively. A strong preference for the authentic mode on G may be noted. (In the Rome reading of Con amans en desesperance, the ending on f and the extended range of a 12th seem to be the result of late transformation.) No clear evidence of modal rhythms survives, although hints favouring a 2nd-mode interpretation are discernible in ...

Article

Robert Falck

(b Le Puy-en-Velay, ?1180; d ?Montpellier, ?1278). Troubadour. His place of birth, in the modern département of Haute-Loire, is known through his vida; a number of members of his family are also traceable there. The estimated date of his birth is based on a document which mentions a certain ‘Petrus Cardinalis’ who was employed as a clerk in 1204 by Raimon VI, Count of Toulouse. The vida tells us that Peire lived to be nearly 100 years old, and that he probably died in Montpellier, the principal residence of Jaime I, King of Aragon (1213–76). As a small boy, Peire attended a clerical school in order to learn reading and singing. It is doubtful whether he ever became a priest, but he did write a large number of Marian poems.

Over 90 poems have been attributed to him, of which three only have survived with melodies. It is evident from the ...