Anna Alberni (University of Barcelona)

Machaut’s Literary Legacy in the Crown of Aragon: The Role of Chansonnier VeAg
Knowledge of Guillaume de Machaut’s literary and musical works is attested since 1380 in the Francophile court of Aragon, where his art exerted an influence that lasted well into the fifteenth century. Catalan poets such as Andreu Febrer and Pere Torroella were greatly influenced by Machaut’s poetry: this can be seen in the way they adapted the lay and ballade forms, and in the French section of Chansonnier Vega-Aguiló (Biblioteca de Catalunya, 7-8), an important witness of the poetry that originated with the troubadours and was fashionable in the Crown of Aragon until the end of the fifteenth century. This codex contains a ballade (Lo220) and a complainte (Cp5) by Machaut, both of which, together with an anonymous virelay, are copied as lyrical insertions in the Roman de Cardenois, a romance from the end of the fourteenth century written in French by someone who was very familiar with both Catalonia and the poetry of Machaut. In the light of a new critical edition of the Roman de Cardenois and of Chansonnier VeAg’s lyrical corpus (in progress within The Last Song of the Troubadours project, FP7 2009-2013-241070 at the University of Barcelona), this paper will approach the role of Machaut’s poetry in the construction of a literary canon in the Crown of Aragon.

Jacques Boogaart (University of Amsterdam)
The Fatal Mirror: Interpretation of Machaut’s motet 7, J’ai tant mon cuer/Lasse! Je sui/Ego moriar pro te
Machaut’s motet 7 is, like all his motets, a very condensed piece, full of citations and references to older stories which greatly enhance its signification and form a kind of secondary voice, in addition to the sounding ones. M7 belongs to the few motets where not only texts from 13th-century works are quoted or paraphrased but also a melodic refrain. The work’s main subject is the contrition of a lady who has been too proud and, by preferring another, has contempted the faith of her erstwhile lover and lost his love, which she now regrets. Comparison of her fate with that of the proud Narcissus and the humble Echo evokes the image of the mirror, which is a dominant factor in both texts and music of this motet; it is never mentioned directly itself but its workings are felt everywhere, even in the tenor where king David mourns his rebellious son Absalom.

Emma Cayley (University of Exeter)
Le Contraire Effacies: Reflecting on Reversal in Machaut’s Jugement Poems
Machaut’s innovative shaping of the first-person narrative voice and manipulation of the dialogued genre reflected both the court poet’s new status in France from the fourteenth century onwards and the tensions inherent in French society during this period. I shall focus here on how debate and dialogue operate across Machaut’s Jugement poems, situating Machaut’s debate poems within a long tradition of literary and practical debating. I shall look briefly at the manuscript tradition of Machaut’s works, and suggest how this new late-medieval poetic identity manifests itself in the material space of the codex or manuscript, fusing the physical body of the poet with the material means of transmission of his words; the notion of poet as book and book as poet. In the context of Machaut’s writings, we might consider the manuscript as a space of playful dialogic exchange not only between texts, but between textual form and textual content, Machaut’s “scens” and “matere”. The deliberate arrangement of works within the manuscript sets up an internal dialogue between these works which reflects the dialectic of question and response within the debate poem. 

Emma Dillon (King's College London)
Technologies of Love in Machaut's Remede de Fortune

My paper examines Machaut’s Remede de Fortune through the lens of the thirteenth-century tradition of lyric-interpolated romance. While the Remede is well-known for its curatorial attitude to the earlier lyric tradition, my proposition is that it looks back not just to the model of specific generic and stylistic conventions of song, but also to the environments in which songs were preserved. Beginning with Jean Renart’s Guillaume de Dole, the tradition of inserting songs into stories not only participated in preserving the lyric corpus to which Machaut’s music referred, but also engaged in a more theoretical investigation of what song was (a performance, a material inscription and so on), and what it meant to express oneself in song. As recent studies by Elizabeth Leach and Judith Peraino have shown, the Remede is similarly preoccupied with questions of expression, and the Lover’s progress from forlorn crooner (in his opening lai) to sophisticated songster (in his closing virelai and rondelet) charts a lesson in how to love well and express oneself effectively. With focus on the closing rondelet, I will suggest that it was partly through evocation of the conventions of song in romance that permitted the Lover to find his final expressive gravity at the end of the Remede. In turn, that look back to these earlier environments of song permitted composer, scribes and readers to define song according to technologies of voice, text, sound, sight and material form that surpassed what had gone before.

Julia Drobinsky (Paris West University Nanterre La Défense)

Visual Narration in Machaut’s MS F-G (BnF, français 22545-22546)
With its 148 miniatures painted by Perrin Remiet in ca. 1390, MS F-G contain one of the longest iconographical cycle of Machaut’s illuminated manuscripts. It offers the most interesting way of constructing a visual equivalent of the verbal narrative. Taking some examples from the Dit dou Lyon, the Fonteinne Amoureuse and the Voir Dit, I intend to explore the combinations of visual means, including composition, physical appearance, gestures, attributes and settings, that the artist used in order to give the reader-viewer an accurate account of the text.

In doing so, I aim to give evidence that Perrin Remiet is far from being the “artiste sans grande originalité et plutôt retardataire […] utilisant des formules désuètes” that François Avril saw in him in his seminal article “les manuscrits de Guillaume de Machaut, Essai de chronologie”. Even though Remiet cannot be considered as a major figure in the history of art - like the Master of Remede de Fortune or the Master of the Bible of Jean de Sy -, he was nonetheless a gifted ymagier who showed a fine knowledge of Machaut’s writing, and found a fluent and careful language not only to make his dits easily understandable, but also to underline some of their most specific components.

Warwick Edwards (University of Glasgow)

The Rhythms of Machaut’s Sung Verse: A Case Study in the Intersection of Oral and Literate Cultures
The rhythms of Machaut’s poetry continue to exercise and divide philologists, who, however, have seldom felt in a position to consider the topic from the angle of how his words are phrased and articulated when sung. Music historians, for their part, struggle to find a consensus on Machaut’s expressive intentions as he sets his own poetry to music. Moreover, their accounts of his syllable ‘declamation’ are necessarily highly technical much of the time, while tending to steer clear of offering convincing explanations for why things are the way they are.

I begin this paper by calling attention to Machaut’s immediate song heritage in which just a couple of generations back music had been perceived as an essential adjunct in the performance of verse. Furthermore, melodies had been conceived and remembered for the most part without recourse to notation and without any notion that musical sounds might be measurable in time. As many notationless song traditions show to this day, mnemonic imperative results in the grouping of syllables into regular rhythmic patterns, almost as if (in Guido of Arezzo’s words back in the 11th century) the verses are ‘scanned by feet’. In its turn this phenomenon leaves its mark on the way poets choose the words themselves.

By Machaut’s time much had changed – at least in courtly / clerical circles. Increasingly, poetry was experienced through silent reading, while music had become – in Machaut’s own terminology – a ‘science’, whose mastery entailed knowledge of a notational system that could now designate specific durations and be used to construct and record polyphony as well as pure melody. While the latter development had little appeal for poets such as Deschamps, it was one whose novel range of rhythmic possibilities the poet-composer Machaut found endlessly fascinating.

Yet unsurprisingly, Machaut never forgot his roots. Through a series of examples I demonstrate how and why he sets his words to music sometimes in traditionally inherited regular syllabic patterns, sometimes not; sometimes in ways calculated to reinforce word sound and sense, sometimes anything but; and sometimes in ways suggesting that – true to character – he is having a lot of fun with them.

David Fiala (University of Tours)
Machaut and Saint-Quentin
Though Machaut’s poetical works are well known for their numerous and complex reflexions of autobiographical facts, his musical works (or, more precisely, in most cases, their texts) offer much less evidence of that kind. In this matter, beyond his last three motets (n. 21-23) and his Mass, whose political and personal contents have been richly explained and discussed in connexion to his life in Reims, his motet to saint Quentin (n. 19) raises some of the most puzzling and promising issues (perhaps more than the previous motet, n. 18, almost certainly in praise of archbishop of Reims Guillaume de Trie). Extending the biographical investigations of Anne W. Robertson and Roger Bowers, new readings of the documentation of the royal collegiate church of Saint-Quentin (Picardy), where Machaut held his most important canonicate after the one he had in Reims, enable to add a few (limited) facts to the contextual understanding of this work and, more generally, of his beneficial career.

Jared C Hartt (Oberlin College Conservatory of Music)
Sonority and Voice Leading in Machaut’s Messe de Nostre Dame
Elsewhere I have shown that Machaut favours the use of certain consonant sonority types over others in his nineteen three-voice motets. Similarly, Machaut composes certain voice-leading patterns far more frequently than others throughout his motets à 3, especially at major points of tonal articulation. But what about Machaut’s use of sonority types and details of voice leading in a four-voice texture? Machaut’s Messe de Nostre Dame will serve as the focal point through which to broach this question.

In the paper’s first section, I focus on sonority. After presenting a categorization of the various four-voice concords employed by Machaut, I elucidate which interval combinations are found most frequently throughout the Messe, and discuss the issue of voice function: in particular, I address the roles of the tenor and contratenor in sonority construction, arguing that the latter often plays an equally as fundamental role as the former. I also demonstrate that – much like in the motets – certain sonority types play specific syntactical functions throughout the unfolding of each of the Messe’s movements. In the paper’s second section, I delve into details of voice leading, and discuss specific issues concerning the relationship between contrapuntal precepts and the musical surface itself. Through a detailed look at the most salient progressions in each of the work’s movements, and in response to Margaret Bent’s 2003 analysis of the Gloria, I argue that in order to glean a fuller understanding of the voice-leading intricacies in the Messe’s four-voice texture, it is frequently necessary to consider the progression of voice pairings that do not involve the tenor.

Dimitris Kountouras (University of Athens)
Tels Rit au Main: Machaut’s Only Lament: An Analysis
The lonely protagonist is arriving at the “hortus conclusus” and commences his sad song. In the first place a lovers’ lament, Tels rit au main is above all a plaint on the fate of man and his destiny that is so rudely ruled by fortune and its will.

Tels rit au main, from Remede de fortune, is the unique complainte of Machaut’s enormous output and shows interest in many different directions. The symmetrical structure of the piece, its rich text and the relation to the music as well as to the “music” of the language and the place of the song in Remede’s dramaturgy are the most significant aspects of Tels rit au main.

Trying an analysis on these different aspects one can arrive to interesting conclusions and readings of the complainte as well as to some ideas on the interpretation and performance of the piece.

David Maw (University of Oxford)
Compositional Process as Cultural History: Machaut’s Songs as Case Study

Susan McClary’s book Modal Subjectivities (2004) strikes a bold blow for music as a cultural agent. Adopting a cultural-historical perspective within the methods of musical analysis, it argues that the Italian madrigal pre-empted in the sixteenth century cultural developments associated with the seventeenth century. Music was thus at the vanguard of cultural change at this time. Whatever the strengths and weaknesses of the argument for the particular case of the madrigal, it points towards a cultural significance for musical analysis in its own terms. In McClary’s view, music is not simply mimetic of and responsive to a larger cultural scene but is an agent with a shaping and influencing voice in cultural debate.

This paper follows through some of the possible consequences of McClary’s line of argument for Machaut’s songs. Whereas McClary focused almost exclusively on mode in her analysis of the madrigal, a tactic that is not without problems and bounded by some notable limitations, this paper proposes to address Machaut from the wider perspective of ‘compositional process’. This concept, framed independently of the actions and practices of creating the music, can be defined as the immanent process of the music itself – in other words, what has resulted from the acts of composing in the terms of sequence and constitution of musical events in the finished work. It may take account of a range of different compositional facets: mode and tonality, of course, but also motivic technique, handling and manipulation of texture and (perhaps most importantly) response to poetic text.

By consideration of individual songs (‘Ne pensez pas’, ‘Quant j’ay l’espart’), the paper aims to show how analysis of compositional process can reveal aspects of musical thought relevant to cultural historians. The compositional process of the music is the means by which the composer engages his audience. It reveals important assumptions about the audience and the musical experience to which that is responsive. In calculating this engagement, composers respond to audiences, of course, but strong composers – and Machaut may be included under this category – also shape their listeners: they create musical experiences that listeners aspire to be able to respond to. In this way, music drives cultural change and development. Thus through this analysis significant ambitions of fourteenth-century French culture may be revealed.

Kate Maxwell (University of Agder)
Guillaume de Machaut and the Concept of ‘Multimodality’
This paper will argue that the concept of multimodality can be successfully applied to the works of the fourteenth century’s most prolific poet-composer. The concept, usually dated to Gunther Kress and Theo Van Leeuwen in the mid 1990s, posits that all parts of a ‘text’ contribute to the understanding of the material; these modes can include the visual, verbal, sonic, tactile, and more. This notion has been developed in the intervening decades to enhance understanding of a range of artistic and popular media, including narrative, discourse, opera, education, internet productions, visual art, and much more besides, but not, until now, to medieval manuscripts.

Machaut’s work, as is well acknowledged, encompasses a mastery of poetic and musical composition, together with an appreciation of the impact of the written, sounding and visual aspects of the oeuvre. With the increasing availability of manuscript sources in digital form – with sources ‘bound’ together online in combinations never before seen – coupled with the first complete edition of Machaut’s works appearing in print, the time is surely ripe for a study of the effect of these multimodal developments on the reception of his works.

This paper will therefore suggest a framework for the application of multimodality to Machaut’s works, presenting its background, theoretical foundations and philosophical underpinnings. It is to be hoped that this technique, coupled with existing techniques for understanding manuscript reception, will enable us to better appreciate Machaut’s works in all their multimodal glory.

Thomas Neal (University of Cambridge)
The Composer as Exegete: An Intertextual Analysis of Machaut's Motet 21'
In recent years, musicologists have moved toward viewing the tenor in thirteenth and fourteenth-century polytextual motets not only as a means of supporting the musical structure, but also as holding the key to broader literary and theological meaning. Thus the possibility emerges that the upper voice texts could act as glosses or commentaries on the tenor and its source. This dissertation presents an intertextual analysis of Machaut's motet Christe qui lux es et dies/Veni creator spiritus/[T]Tribulatio proxima est/[Contratenor] (M21), arguing that the triplum and motetus texts act as tropes on the tenor source, Psalm 21 (22)-the 'hidden text' against which the motet is meant to be read. Furthermore, an allegorical reading of this motet demonstrates how Machaut used exegesis as a means of appropriating scripture for historical and political commentary, giving contemporary relevance to biblical events. Such a reading provides new evidence linking M21 to the siege of Rheims (1359-60) and, in turn, gives insight into the medieval composer's tendency to draw theological inference from historical events.

Virginia Newes (Cambridge, Massachusetts)
Structures of Melody and Text in Machaut’s Earlier Monophonic Virelais
Virelais occupy a special place in the original corpus of Machaut’s manuscript C. Following five narrative poems and the Loange des dames, a sequence of 20 notated virelais, all of them monophonic, precedes a group of 16 balades and 9 lais. Almost entirely syllabic, their texts typically feature heterometric lines, absent from the rondeaux and rare among the balades. In an earlier study, I explored the complex and often conflicting relationships between textual and musical structures in Machaut’s heterometric balades. In this paper I focus on the musical articulation of rhyme, caesura, and enjambment in his early monophonic virelais. Examples drawn from manuscript C demonstrate the extent to which scribes recognized and sought to convey these structural markers in the layout and punctuation of the text.

R. Barton Palmer (Clemson University)

Authorship and Autobiography in Machaut: The Star Author Reveals Himself, Or Does He?
Since Kevin Brownlee’s pioneering 1984 study Poetic Identity in Guillaume de Machaut, critics have been aware of Machaut’s centrality to the sudden appearance of a form of literary self-consciousness in the middle of the 14th century.  The thematizing of the self, broadly speaking, found in Machaut’s work is connected to a transformation in fictional types, as the roman or verse narrative that first took shape in the twelfth century begins to cede prominence to what poets at the time termed the dit or “tale.”  Unlike the roman, the dit eschews any thoroughgoing reliance on matières or story-cycles in favor of incorporating the quotidian, the occasional, and the autobiographical; texts within this genre are marked by their often ostentatious idiosyncrasies.  To put this another way, the dit is a syncretic form in the sense that it absorbs, re-orients, and even personalizes themes and narrative motifs borrowed from other secular and learned traditions, advertising the unique vision of the author, who along bears responsibility for its newness and who, as a result, emerges himself as a subject for representation, even as representation itself (as for example a chronicling of lived experience) becomes problematic.  As Brownlee has enabled us to see, this thematic shift depends on the complexifying of the positions from which the “I” in the text speaks, but it furthers an authorial narcissism whose (comically fabulized? existential?) depths have only begun to be plumbed. The Jugement Navarre is crucial to this development in Machaut of a new form of writing that takes writing and authorship as its subjects which is that what was originally extradiegetic (the author producing a text for readers, who are aware of this aspect of this context) becomes diegetic, as textual inside and outside shift places.  The writer as writer turns into a character, while his writing becomes at least in the part the plot that is traced by this new level of fiction at the second degree, which is poised unstably between auto and pseudo-autobiography.  While the text that prompts the Navarre, the Jugement Behaingne, ostentatiously displays its fictionality, the Navarre, which begins with a chronicle of recent events, ostentatiously displays its factuality, setting the stage for the way in which represented authorial experience is made to hover uncertainly between the two modes.  This epistemological uncertainty only intensifies the sense in which textual attention is displaced onto the nature and practice of authorship, a formal development that extends the necessity to pass judgment on the author to readers.

Yolanda Plumley and Uri Smilansky (University of Exeter)
A Courtier’s Quest for Cultural Capital: New Light on the Original Owner of Machaut MS F-G
The social relevance of Machaut and his works is usually discussed with reference to the poet-composer’s known patrons and acquaintances from the very top ranks of the nobility. In this paper, we stray from this focus on royal and princely figures to explore Machaut’s renown amongst others of lesser standing, figures who probably did not know him personally yet valued his output and, especially, books of his works. Our discovery of the original owner of the most complete of the surviving manuscript sources, Paris, Bibliothèque Nationale, fonds français, 22545-22546, is the focus of our exploration. In tracing the extensive travels, political career and personal contacts of this figure, we open a window onto an aspect as yet neglected by Machaut studies. Rather than focussing on the reception of his works by kings, queens and princes, we enter instead the world of the courtier and the chamberlain, silver-tongued politicians in the shadows of such magnates, and their use of cultural capital to enhance their own prestige and, doubtless, to advance their careers.

Tamsyn Rose-Steel (University of Exeter)
Don’t Even Think About It: The ‘Sans Penser’ Motif in Machaut’s Lyrics
For a corpus of lyrics that deals overwhelmingly with the author’s regard for the lady, it is hardly surprising that ideas about thought and thinking feature frequently in Machaut’s Loanges des Dames. This paper examines Machaut’s use of the phrase ‘sans penser’ in his poetry. By looking at how he writes about thought and thinking, we can gain further insights into Machaut’s presentation of his multi-layered authorial self. Furthermore, by positing Machaut’s ideas about thought against the backdrop of his role as a confessor, we may be able to catch tantalising glimpses of Machaut’s attitude to the institution of confession.

Helen J. Swift (University of Oxford)

Communication and Displacement: The Material Place of Poetic Voice
Poetic voice in Machaut’s works has received ample critical attention, from Brownlee’s literary conception of ‘Machaut’s “global” identity as poète’ (1984) to Leo’s iconographical study of authorial presence in the illuminated Machaut manuscripts (2005). It has, however, proven more difficult for critics to sever the tie between author and narrative voice, especially given the primary context for study of the poetic je being the ‘complete works’ manuscripts, including those completed in Machaut’s lifetime. The present paper develops Swift’s re-examination of the poetic je in the texts of the dits (2012) in light of A. C. Spearing’s provocative notion of textual subjectivity (2005), and draws on research under way for the Mellon-funded Machaut in the Book project (2011-13). A. C. Spearing’s theory of ‘subjectless subjectivity’ seems irreconcilable with the materiality of manuscript rubrication and illustrations of an incorporate je. However, we should be wary of using such images as apparent ‘cues’ for an embodied understanding of an individual subject’s, or implied author’s, presence. Reading selected dits from ‘complete works’ manuscripts (especially C and F-G) alongside anthologies (notably Arras 897), I argue that codicological manifestations of je fulfil a function of displacement and redirection, and, if anything, gesture towards authorial absence rather than presence. Attention will be paid to portrayals of a narrator-persona, but will see this figure being used as a tool for directing attention towards communication processes within and without the image, pointing the reader/viewer’s eye/ear away from the identity represented. The figure will also be analysed in relation to others in the image, to discern how concrete visual representation is in fact more fluid, even uncertain, in its location of point of view and narratorial perspective. Miniatures which do not show a narrator will also be analysed for their contribution to this dynamic of displacement.


***********************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."