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date: 13 November 2019

Troubadours, trouvèreslocked

  • John Stevens,
  • Ardis Butterfield
  •  and Theodore Karp


Lyric poets or poet-musicians of France in the 12th and 13th centuries. It is customary to describe as troubadours those poets who worked in the south of France and wrote in Provençal, the langue d’oc, whereas the trouvères worked in the north of France and wrote in French, the langue d’oil.

John Stevens, revised by Ardis Butterfield

The troubadours were the earliest and most significant exponents of the arts of music and poetry in medieval Western vernacular culture. Their influence spread throughout the Middle Ages and beyond into French (the trouvères, see §II below), German, Italian, Spanish, English and other European languages.

The first centre of troubadour song seems to have been Poitiers, but the main area extended from the Atlantic coast south of Bordeaux in the west, to the Alps bordering on Italy in the east. There were also ‘schools’ of troubadours in northern Italy itself and in Catalonia. Their influence, of course, spread much more widely. Pillet and Carstens (...

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