Secular Monophony


Venantius Fortunatus

530 - 609

First western troubadour. Monk in Italy who wrote mostly hymns and poems.


800 - 1199

Professional entertainers from France. Lowest of the low and were not protected by the church law. Took preexisting songs and performed them with changes (most likely)


900 - 1199

Mainly students from European universities. They protested contradictions within the church with satirical, crass poetry.


1100 - 1300

Flourished from 1140-1220 in South France (langue d'oc). Canso was the most important song, but there were many genres. The most famous canso is de Ventadorn's Can vei la lauzeta. The other genres include formal debates (Partimen) and a dawn song for parting lovers (Alba). The songs were heterophonic in performance if accompanied (otherwise monophonic) and had occasional melismas.

Spanish Troubadours

1100 - 1300

They wrote cantigas, all of which that have survived are about the Virgin Mary. They are written in Medieval Gallican language with 280 different formats.

Beatriz de Dia

1140 - 1212

She was the countess in Southern France and her song A chantar m'er is one of the only surviving trobairitz songs. The song is strophic, monophonic, stepwise, and has a modal melody with no regular meter.


1145 - 1225

When the men went to fight in the crusade, women took over and wrote more realistic songs than the men had.

Bernard de Ventadorn

1145 - 1200

He was a widely popular composer of troubadour songs in France, including Can vei la lauzeta. he wrote many songs about love and his compositions were well received. His work is mostly syllabic with the occasional melisma and short phrases.


1160 - 1300

This was the German equivalent of a troubadour. They were much more serious and less obscene than the French. Minnelied was the equivalent to the canso, Streitgedicht the equivalent of the tenso, Tagelied the equivalent of the alba, and Frauenstrophe the equivalent of the chanson de toile. They also had guilds formed of multiple Meistersinger. An example of a German Minnesinger is Ulrich von Lichtenstein, known for his Frauendienst (poetry collection of country love) and Frauenbuch (a dialogue about the decline of court chivalry)

Albegensian Crusade

1209 - 1229

This started the decline of the troubadours, since many knights went off to fight and not a lot of composing was being done in that time period.

Guiraut Riquier

1230 - 1292

One of the last Occitan troubadours (in South France). He took great care in preserving his works.


1250 - 1399

They are from North France, langue d'oil. There are many more aristocratic and bourgeoise than Southern France. Had contests (Puys) in guilds to decide which song was the best. The chanson was the most important genre, including the chanson de toile and the chanson de geste. Adam de la Halle wrote "Jeu de Robin et Marian", which is the oldest extant French drama.


1250 - 1499

This is the English equivalent of a troubadour. It includes the Scop (professional poet/composer) and Gleeman (nomadic, somewhat like the jongleur, especially in their social status)