minstrel: Pertaining to Guillaume de Machaut

Fred Ross fred at horace.ls.net
Thu Apr 20 10:42:10 PDT 2000

Machaut's pieces for a single voice were meant to be monophonic.  I have
run across some really wonderful accompaniment parts, usually 19th century
in origin, but in period the lays, virelais, and the like were all sung
with at most an instrumental interlude, probably only voice.

I haven't performed Machaut in public yet, but I have a piece in the
works.  The problem is finding time when my voice isn't exhausted from all
the Mozart my voice teacher assigns me.

Translating Machaut strikes me as a bad idea, but I am generally
prejudiced against translations.  Synopses might be useful, but these
songs are musically lovely enough where I would consider it extraneous at

Fred Ross
s.k.a. Philippe de Minerve
a.k.a. Sgath

On Thu, 20 Apr 2000, Debra Grove wrote:

> I have sung some of the Machaut songs, both for bardic circles and for 
> competitions.  So far I've only sung them in the original language, but find 
> I get good results when I give a synopsis of the song beforehand and infuse 
> appropriate feeling into the performance. (I do similar things with some 
> Gaelic pieces, and have very good response indeed.)
> I've usually done them either as a capella vocal solo or as harp instrumental 
> (in which case of course the words are not involved.)  I've recently 
> considered trying them sung with harp accompaniment (small gothic harp.)  
> Anyone have any thoughts on which performance version would be most 
> appropriate?
> Rowen Brithwallt
> "I do not resent growing older - many are not granted that privilege."

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