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The troubadours are musicians and poets who existed between the years 100 to 1300 and had emerged from the tradition of nomadic singers and called the historians, poets and jongleurs. The type of verse and music instruments which they used and practiced provided an interesting insight to the rich culture which had been in existence in the medieval times. This was the time of the court life and the crusaders hence there was a lot of cultural heritage. The roots of the troubadours are believed to have originated back in the sixth century when the Caesar of Arles had issued a decree that led to the banning of all entertainment that was secular due to the influence that was given by the bishops at the time. Troubadour music is a resemblance of the courtly love and it emerged from the southern parts of France (Elizabeth, 1996).
Due to the fall of the Roman empire at the time which mainly used Latin as their official language, it led to the Latin which was being spoken evolving into two and the result was the Troubadours using the langue d’oc which was believed to be more lyrical and had more beautiful of the two. The other language was the Langue d’oil and was used by the troubadour counterparts from the northern part of France called the Trouvere. Both of the two groups played courtly roles at the time. This group trough the songs which they played in the courts in the medieval times provided more information on the lives of the noblemen that hired them and owned the courts in which they performed (Chaytor, 2004).
The music performed had different genres and were specially written for the occasion depending on the political, social or even death of a kinsmen. But most of the songs which were written at the time mainly targeted the women of the court; this would sing praise on the love of the women and indicate the battle of love in which it led to the winning. The genre which had praise for women was called the chanson a personages. Other genres at the time included the Canso which was a court love song, the Pastora and Alba and Descort amongst others. Aside from the court performances, the troubadours used to also perform at public functions or meetings which were important at the time. At the start of the thirteenth century they evolved and competition began among them where the one who had won was crowned as the champion. This led to the evolution of this music as both the secular and the sacred themes were involved and the result was a wordplay which was eventually eclipsed by poetry and plays (Gaunt & Kay, 1999).
According to Pennimen (1999) the poetry by this group mainly dealt with issues like wars at the time, the political scene and personal satire with various other topics. The main issue with the poetry was that it had to be expressed with a certain degree of originality but with love a symbol of the expression. The troubadours were the first lyrists in Europe who exhaustively dealt with the topic of love. This led to the emulation of their culture and practice across most countries in the greater Europe. In the love genres in which ladies were given praises, a lot of factors were considered on selection of the person to be praised in any song. Majority of the ladies who were being praised were married in the courts with those who wrote for the maidens being exceptional. The poetry was basically conventional with the marriage not being its objective at any point. The Troubadour love was an outcome of a Germanic theory of knighthood under the influence of Mariolatry. This was a result the 11th century when Virgin Mary was very popular and this view in due time was extended to the female group as a whole (Chaytor, 2004).
At this time a vassal had obedience to the feudal lord and the overlord was expected to return this actions and feelings. At the time of war when the husband was away the lady was given the authority to represent the husband by being in charge of vassals by exercising the suzerainty. This resulted in a situation where the women who were not married ended up being very conspicuous in the society. The early writings tend to imply that the troubadours had four classifications in terms of their performances namely; the Jonglers who were part time musicians, the primary function of such was to entertain others with the use of acrobat’s props and animals. The second category was the Menestrels who were full time musicians who but who had an insubordinate in comparison to eh troubadour of the court because of the repertoire where they performed other musicians songs. These who were performing others music had to give donation for the song performed t the composer. The highest troubadours were called the Doctor de Trobar and ended up receiving the highest wages at the time and would perform on more than one court. The troubadour influenced the culture in the medieval ages because for one to be one they had to possess some qualities. These qualities assisted them in becoming better performers that endear them to the courts. This included virtues like temperance, veneration for women and generosity.
Humanism is term that was applied in the social philosophy and literal intellectuals of the periods of 1400-1500. The inclining to the paganism as this age led to the stimulation of the secular philosophy which led to more recognition and appreciation to the world and its pleasures. This was promoted further by the push for personal independence and the need to give expressions as an individual. This zeal led to the growth of the classics was pushed even further as the rise of trade, growth and prosperity at this era. Humanism can generally be outlined as the midway that arose in the medieval supernaturalism and the modern scientific and critical attitude. This terminal is hence believed to have its origin in the middle ages (Penniman, 1997).
According to Penniman (1997) the humanism is related to the classic period of Troubadours because as the medieval supernaturalism bean too decline, the secular and human interests became more prominent. This was the same time that the Troubadours began to spread to other countries in Europe like Italy and Spain. The humanistic approach believed in beauty as it gave a glimpse of the transcendental existence. This culture explains the cult if beauty which is clearly reflected in the classical era of the troubadour whether the fundamental for everything was mainly the aesthetic movement. This humanistic culture embraced the pre-scientific age in which the mystical and aesthetic temper was very prominent. These humanists tended to revere in things like Aristotle’s theories and preferred to shift authorities rather than dismiss them. Despite all this the literature which was read was more for entertainment rather than intellectual uplift. This increases desire for pleasure and other worldly things led to the thriving of the troubadour culture and music as it was part of the entertainment that was highly desired.
This revolution led to the birth of the of a new era of individualism that had been suppressed by the regimes of the Romans, the church and the caste system that had been in existence and this promoted secular and humane philosophy that led to the rise of the Troubadours. The church had earlier rebuked this while comparing the individualism to selfishness, arrogance and rebellion. The result of this was cities throwing off the burden of feudalism as corporate liberty was advocated and individual freedom was promoted. This led to the decline of the feudal class and the feudal lord who had courts class and tradition was soon discarded for individualism (Kreis, 2008).
According to Kreis (2008) the humanistic philosophy led to the rise of many ideologies that led to the change in intellectual traits. This led to the cultivation of a sense of individualism while an instinct of curiosity was brought in. the high development of skeptics resulted in gradual rise in matters of taste and dress code. This culture also supported Troubadours more people were accessible to this type of music and poetry of expression. Meanwhile this can be viewed to have had this development the real result was the decline of the court lifestyle. This led to less places to perform and most of the troubadours had to look for other careers while those who still practiced this art left for abroad to look for new markets to sell this trade which they had been performing. During this period Europe finally changed to the modern era poof western intellectual and tradition. The humanist era changed the culture to individual expression and opposition to ideas which did not suit an individual.
The songs of the Troubadours ended up being heard in English courts and this was an automatic result of the affiliations which were developed due o the political relation which was in existence. This was a result of during the Norman Conquest most of the nobility which and invaded England spoke French. In Germany the troubadours who were being hosted led to the adoption of the style as historical texts show some kind of relation between the poetry and illustrations in Germany and the counterparts which were from France. The culture may also be related with Spain and this is argued to result due to the close ties which at the time were shared between southern France and North of Spain. This is clearly reflected in the famous Cantigas de Santa Marie that had influences of the troubadour in terms of the technique and formation which was used (www.asolat, n.d.).
One of the troubadours who can be noted includes the Guilhem VII, Count of Pointiers. He had his granddaughter married to the Henry II of England. This troubadour is believed to be one of the ones who took their art to England hence leading to the development and expansion of this art to other countries hence influencing the culture of poetry and art in this area. Some of the surviving works of this Troubadour though not complete express the melodic fragment which was ended having a tremendous effect on the musical culture that later emerged in the country (Gaunt & Kay, 1999).
To sum up the whole discussion, the troubadours existed in Europe in times when the Feudalism had oppressed many people hence were found in the courts where they sang praises for the ladies of the courts. This culture originally began in Southern France but later spread to northern France and with the rise of Humanism spread to other areas in Europe where it influenced the musical culture and poetry. The humanism rise led to individualism that promoted the personal expression and desire that had been oppressed by the church and other authorities due is branded sinful. This revolution led to decline of Troubadours as the courts in which they thrived disappeared and they had to go abroad to look for new places while others quit eventually. These people have to be given credit for the work which they did at the time despite many problems at the time like war, famine and diseases.
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