ii. Variants: Revision or Correction; Mistakes and Intentionality

Machaut's complete-works manuscripts demonstrate a remarkable uniformity despite being complex in their production and content and having been produced over a period of around fifty years. Nevertheless, these manuscripts include a large number of local variants of different kinds which are on a more modest scale than the different combinations of voices discussed on the previous pages.

Since this is a large topic, it has been divided into a set of sub-discussions. These start with variants arising from the recopying of early, non-standardised versions of works into later exemplars that enjoyed a more stable circulation. This is followed by an examination of specific locations where variants cloud Machaut's putative original intention, resulting in problematic places with different readings and solutions. Next will be considered a number of small and most-likely unintentional variants whose reading, nonetheless, has a significant effect on the resulting versions. Then, the issue of variants arising from clear mistakes is discussed, including corrections made to versions within single source. Finally, thoughts are offered on the interpretation of variants: can we always tell whether they were made in error or deliberately?

This section does not include a separate discussion of variants in underlay and their effect. Examples relating to this topic can be found elsewhere on the website.


Uri Smilansky


***********************STOP PRESS!!!!!!!!************************

The Complete Poetry and Music of Guillaume de Machaut Volume 1 is out now!!!!

Volume 1: The Debate Poems is now available in print.

You can also enjoy the entire volume online via the Middle English Texts Website.

Edited and translated by R. Barton Palmer, with art historical commentary by Domenic Leo, and musical commentary by Uri Smilansky, the volume contains  Le Jugement dou Roy de Behaigne, Le Jugement dou Roy de Navarre, and Le Lay de Plour.




The Ferrell-Vogüé Machaut Manuscript

Full colour facsimile with introductory study by Lawrence Earp, Domenic Leo and Carla Shapreau. Preface by Christopher de Hamel

"It is a vast manuscript of royal luxury, 390 leaves of parchment, 314 mm. by 220 mm., illustrated with 118 enchanting miniatures by a workshop of court illuminators led by the Master of the Bible of Jean de Sy.They include pictures of gothic chivalry and romance, with mythology and natural history. Music is included on 235 pages of the manuscript, with almost the entire corpus of the ballades, lais and motets of Machaut, as well as his great polyphonic setting of the Mass, the four-part Messe de Nostre-Dame.The manuscript has never before been photographed in its entirety or reproduced in colour."

"Vol. 1 introductory study (225 pages colour/mono), vol. 2 facsimile (789 full colour pages) on 150gsm matt art paper. Full size reproduction, hard bound in buckram, presented in hard slipcover."

Available now from DIAMM Publications.

The Art of Grafted Song: Citation and Allusion in the Age of Machaut by Yolanda Plumley

Available now from Oxford University Press

"Presents the first detailed exploration of citational practices in the song-writing tradition of fourteenth-century France. The first monograph-length study on the Ars nova chanson with new evidence about the emergence of the new polyphonic chanson. Provides new evidence about the circle of poets and composers who engaged with Machaut and created a new style of poetry and song. Explores little studied collections of lyrics and songs of the period and provides fresh insights and perspectives on Machaut's works."