- Craig Wright
- , revised by David Fallows
French region, south-east of Paris. During the Middle Ages Burgundy was successively a kingdom (c500–800), a group of counties (800–956) and a duchy (956–1477). Under the dukes of Burgundy of the house of Valois (1364–1477), the Burgundian domain became the most powerful political entity in western Europe (fig.1) and the Burgundian court a centre of musical activity. The importance of the dukes of Burgundy as patrons of music was such that the entire era has come to be called ‘the Burgundian epoch’ and the composers of the period ‘the Burgundian school’. These designations do not mean that music or musicians native to Burgundy were important. The Burgundian court was a cosmopolitan centre, French in language and culture, and the music that emanated from it was international in style.
For music history, the term ‘Burgundy’ is geographically misleading. It is important to note that the ‘Burgundian era’ in music had almost nothing to do with either the Duchy of Burgundy (with its capital in Dijon and a major residence in Beaune) or with the adjoining County of Burgundy, also known as Franche Comté (with its capital in Besançon). Initially the dukes were mainly resident in Paris; and their culture was entirely French. But with the onset of political difficulties surrounding Duke John the Fearless the centre of activity moved to the richest acquisitions of Philip the Bold, namely Flanders and Artois; after about ...