minstrel: The origin of the Cantigas / Lamento di Tristano and La Rotta

Greg Lindahl lindahl at pbm.com
Wed Jul 26 14:13:10 PDT 2000

> So I wonder: did el Sablio write all the
> music, or did he adapt it from various sources?

First off, Alphonso _commissioned_ the cantigas, so most were probably
written by other people. There are certainly many cantigas found in
other sources. I have included a list at the bottom.

> I have a recording of "Lamento di Tristano" as a slow piece, I'll call
> this music just "Lamento", then, on the same cassette I have "La Rotta"
> as a fast piece.

I believe these appear one after another in the same source. It is
common for instrumental dances of later eras to have this kind of
setup: pavane and galliard. Dance and nachtanze (after-dance in
german). And so on.

The source is nicely described in Timothy McGee's book, Medieval
Instrumental Music. The fast one is La Rotta, and the other one is
Lamento di Tristian.

-- Gregory Blount

[ And no, I don't really think Cantiga 100 really reacalls the melody
of Lament di Tristan. ]

From: cincosig at sinix.net (Antonio Torralba)
Newsgroups: rec.music.early
Subject: Re: Rhythm in the Cantigas?
Date: 11 Feb 1998 19:38:05 +0100


Specialist R. Álvarez has written: "It would be worthwhile to notice the
essential role that improvisation played in the instrumental music of
the Middle Ages: it is very likely that jugglers and minstrels alike
recreated the very same well-known repertoire at every performance." If
we concentrate ourselves on the repertoire of the Cantigas by Alfonso X,
there are several examples of these contrafacta. J. Sage gives a list,
although some items are debatable. For example, Cantiga No. 216 uses a
melody by troubadour Gautier de Dargies, Cantigas No. 380 and No. 340
make use of melodies by Cadenet, Cantiga No. 202 uses material by an
anonymous author, Cantiga No. 29 contains a melody that resembles one by
J. de Garlandia, Cantiga No. 100 recalls (!) the anonymous melody of the
Lamento di Tristano; other Cantigas (v.gr. Nos. 49, 97, 152, 244, 290
and 316) could be related to works from the School of Notre-Dame. I.
Fernández de la Cuesta, despite the fact that he constantly defends the
originality of the melodies of the Cantigas, cites some additional
examples: the fourth melodical phrase of the Prologue Cantiga coincides
with a melody by Berenguer de Palau, and Cantiga No. 73 is undoubtedly
related to the first Cantiga de Amigo by Martín Códax. Cantiga No. 347
(certainly not the last example) reads: "de que fiz cantiga nova con son
meu, ca non alleo". In other words, the king or the troubadour wishes to
establish that in this piece both the text and the music are by himself.

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