Essay on The Evolution of Love in the Fifteenth and Sixteenth-Centuries

Essay on The Evolution of Love in the Fifteenth and Sixteenth-Centuries

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Throughout time, love has been a steady theme in music, literature, and film. Love is perhaps one of the most obvious emotions to portray and it can often be described as be sensual, sexual, spiritual or mystic, and divine. The tradition of courtly love began in the twelfth- century with the traveling songs of the performing troubadours and trouvères throughout Europe. Their songs of love were the source of all Western vernacular poetry and through the evolution of time developed into the popular chanson of the fifteenth and sixteenth- centuries. Perhaps the most common themes in Burgundian, Parisian and international chansons is that of fine amour or refined love. Due to the influence of culture and the progression of time, the subject matter and compositional style of the chanson changed as it moved through Burgundy, Paris and eventually spread internationally.
The Burgundian chanson, also know as Netherlandish, is the secular song of the Low Countries, which today consists of Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands. This style of chanson spawned from the older troubadour and trouvère traditions of the Middle Ages These chansons were specifically written to please the court of the four grand ducs d”Occident, cousins to the king of France: Philip the Bold, John the Fearless, Charles the Bold, and Philip the Good. Kemp eloquently describes the Burgundian chanson style as, “a tapestry woven not only of the dominant stylistic threads of French and Flemish composers but also the interacting artistry of English, Swiss, German, Italian, Spanish, and Portuguese musicians…”
While Burgundian chanson in some respects continued the traditions of the troubadours and trouvères with overriding themes of courtly love, the texts o...


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Miller, Leta Ellen. “The Chansons of French Provincial Composers, 1530-1550: A Study of Stylistic Trends Volume 1.” PhD diss., Stanford University, 1977. proquest.com (accessed May 1, 2014).

Munrow, David. “The art of courtly love.” Oxford Journals vol. 1, No.4 (1973), jstor.org (accessed May 5, 2014).

Roden, Timothy. Anthology for music in western civilization. Boston: Schurmer Cenegage Learning, 2010.

Sermisy, Claudin de. “Je n’ay point plus d’affection.” In Antology of Renaissance Music, ed. Allan W. Atlas. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 1998.

Sermisy, Claudin de. Les cris de Paris chansons de Janequin et Sermisy. Ensemble Cleément Janequin. ocm36863959. 1981. Compact Disc.



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