Claudio Vanin

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


The aim of this study is to lay the groundwork for an eventual codification of musical form and style in the troubadour songs. To that end, it concentrates on two of the broadest musical parameters, form and tonal structure. A new catalogue of all attributed songs is provided with the study, which is intended to remedy the deficiencies of Gennrich's, the only complete one available until now. It is based on descriptive and logical, rather than historical, principles, and the graphing procedure employed is designed to provide more information than the standard ones, by showing connections at the sub-phrase level. The songs are grouped into five large categories, based on the kind of phrase repetition found in their musical forms, and these categories then serve as a tool in the detailed examination of the nature and role of musical form in the repertoire. It is found that the troubadours' acknowledged fascination with structure for its own sake, as evidenced in their versification, can also be seen in their musical forms. Indeed, there is an intimate and dynamic interaction between the two kinds of form, which can serve as a paradigm for the understanding of music/text relations in the canso. The analysis of selected examples demonstrates some of the many ways in which the troubadours created subtle and finely articulated formal designs in their music; this contradicts the view that they were unskilled as composers and relied only on simple standard formulas for their music.;The chapter on tonal structure examines the songs for evidence of functional tonal centres, and looks at the role of the final in relation to these. It is found that both the medieval modal system and the notion of interval chains are useful in shedding light on the characteristic tonal features of troubadour songs, and that a significant percentage of the finals can be considered functionally related to the tonal centre of the song, where this is clearly established.



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