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date: 07 December 2019

Canso [canzo, chanzo]locked

  • Hendrik van der Werf
  • , revised by Stephen Haynes


[canzo, chanzo]

One of several Old Provençal words literally meaning ‘song’ (others include chan, chantar, chantaret, son and sonet). From the end of the 12th century it was used by the troubadours primarily, but not with complete consistency, for strophic songs about courtly love, in contrast to the political or moralizing songs known as ‘sirventes’. These two terms gradually replaced the word ‘vers’ which was used by the earliest troubadours for strophic songs of almost any content, and it appears that the only substantial difference between vers and canso is that the canso is restricted to topics about courtly love. The vida of Peire d’Alvernhe observes that ‘he did not make a single canson, for at that time no songs [ cantars] were called cansos, but vers; it was Giraut de Bornelh who made the first canson that was ever made’. Troubadours in the period of transition (e.g. Bernart de Ventadorn and Peire Vidal) used both terms for songs very similar to one another in form and content....

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