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WOMEN

&

MUSIC

character

it

vilana

Guil-

rivalled

learningsr-the

“5’

and pastorela.

The

of the

might indeed reflect

a taste for works in which powerful women figure prominently. may also reflect a taste for debate at court over both political and poetic issues. And this brings us to ask: How might this song have been performed? In what kind of context can we place the performance? Available evidence indi- cates that the audiences at court, and this would be especially true of the court at Poitiers, were small. Although it is likely that the dominant figures at court may have been young male noblemen of

ences also included noblewomen, professional members of the count’s entourage, and other per- formers. As Ruth Harvey has pointed out: “Poets knew one another, one another in com- posing verses, and debated interpretations of love

and the art of poetry.

Further, among women’s

an atmosphere, a sharp-tongued poet such as

clearly perceived as a critic of ladies but presenting himself as an upholder of virtue, might have fared

We may now ask By whom might this song have

been performed? In all likelihood, the Marcabru song would have been performed by Marcabru himself or by a male singer. One can imagine the multiple levels of meaning and the multiple ironies that could be brought out in a performance by Marcabru before an audience aware of the allu- sions to “real” voices the song might contain, aware of the difference between the poet as narra- tor and the poet as knight,” and fully able to ap- preciate the various effects of melodic stability amidst textual change, and the effect, too, of a de- ceptively lighthearted melody carrying a series of exchanges that are both witty and telling. A dif- ferent array of meanings would pertain if the song were performed by a jongleur. And performance

by a

is not unthinkable. Indeed, a mod-

ern singer found this possibility intriguing: one of the first modern transcriptions of the song was

made for Yvette

the belle-epoque

judging by the recordings of Yvette bert, a more perfect interpreter of Marcabru’s song could scarcely be imagined.

The feminine voices we hear in the songs dis- cussed in this essay are differently situated within the corpus of Occitan lyric. If we place the song of the Comtessa de Dia in what we can know of its social contexts through careful consideration of

sophisticated

tastes-

it

is

known

himself was a man of some

s o n g s , d e b a t e p o e m s f i g u r e p r o m i n e n t l y . 5 It is in 3 such an atmosphere of free debate display that we must place the rhetorical In such

Matcabru,

well.54

joglaressa

diseme;

Guilbert,

that

William

X

audi-

Goddard, “The Early Troubadours,” 56.

J6rn Gruber,

debare,

intertextuality,

DiafektiZ des Tmbar (Tiibingen: Niemeyer,

mixres dam Tensus

lyrique the Trobaititz 1994), 13-28,

Trobairitz,” 1995), x7--20;

lo.

Menegheni, flpubblico hi trovatoti Mu&i, voferfmna: L.es 53. Angelica mPdihah Couflb Culture, coselh Au MatildaTomaryn

51. 52.

a&Love,

ofthe

E

H a r v e y , M a r c a b r u

2.36 n.

For the range of questions involving

see Maria Luisa 1983). troubadouresque,” Perspectives “in Literary Aspects of

ed. Donald Maddox and Sara Sturm-Maddox (Cambridge: D. S. Brewer,

and “The

in

See

Rieger, “En 16 (1990): 47-57;

(Modena:

1984) and

Die

rivalry and

no

la

of

A Handbook

Troubadours, ed.

R P. Akehurst and Judith M. Davis (Berkeley: University of California Press,

hum

dialogues Bruckner, “Debatable Fictions: The

Linda M. Paterson, The

World

of

the

Troubadours: Medieval Occitan

Socieg c. 1100-c. 1300

(Cambridge: Cambridge University

Press,

1993).

260. It is evident that we cannot agree with the views of Simon Gaunt on the role

ofwomen

in debates at

courr:

“if

women did engage in

wirty

dialogue

ar

court,.

.they

did so within an environment devoted primarily to the regulation of a male

161).

54.

hierarchy and to the distribution of power within a man’s world” (Gaunt, Gender and Genre, Marcabru was attacked directly by at least one medieval poet, probably a trobairia, although the song was long attributed to

Raimon Jordan because that is the attribution in the one manuscript (C: BNF fr

h

it is found: “No puesc mudar no

similarly ill of women; I tell you there’s no great honor in maligning that from which a child is born) (Bruckner, Shepard, and Songs, 99). It is to be noted that the designation “En” given to Marcabru in this song suggests that he was perceived as be-

ley

gleiza / selh

d’aisso don nays

el

I

gran

I

digua mon

di

(PC

de la gen

stanza 3, lines

a

de

quant es en

ho orador que

gran mal

vejaire” 404.5), mescrezen, / enfansa” /

/

Whire,

856) w ere predicaire /

/

I

mal

et

dia

de

eyssamen.

E

vos be que non I’es

honransa

que dia

(For Lord Marcabru, like a sermonizer

in church, or a preacher

speaking ill of unbelievers,

speaks

mal

2.5-30,

“Qu’En Marcabrus,

donas

/

die

longing to the knightly class, but the honorific “en” may be ironic;

it

is avoided elsewhere with Marcabru (Harvey, Marcabru and

Love,

12). Angelica

Rieger

(Fobairitz 712-13) suggests

that the composer of “No

muesc

mudar” might have been associated with

the court of Maria de Ventadorn where questions of women’s stance as singers were debated, if we are to judge by the

tenro

ex-

changed between Maria and Gui

see Gaunt,

and Genre ,

his Public,” Reading Medieval Studies

(Bruckner, Shepard, and White, Songs,

For a discussion of “No puesc mudar,”

On the reception of Marcabru’s work, see Ruth Harvey, “The Troubadour Marcabru and

(1988): 47-76.

d’Usse1 161-65. r4

38-41).

Gem&r

55. Topsfield,

Troubadours and Love, 89.

44

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