Medieval Women's Choir - Courtly Love
People have been falling in love since before human memory, but in the middle ages a formal, stylized concept of love took hold among the upper classes. Closely related to the concept of chivalry among the knightly class, the tropes of courtly love are still familiar to us today: the lover, unworthy to even speak to his beloved, admiring her from afar; the impediments to love, such as a husband, a father, slanderers at court, or a difference in social status; the efforts to win favor through offerings of verse, music, or feats of arms; the inevitable misery that comes with the inevitable rejection; and the ecstatic reception of the slightest sign of favor from the beloved. Have we really changed so much?
The language and the ideas of courtly love permeated the culture of the 12th and 13th centuries, and they are nowhere more present than in the lyric verse of the time, and in its music. The troubadours of the Pays d'Oc set the tone in the early 12th century, and the French-speaking trouveres of the north adopted it with enthusiasm. The influence of the troubadours extended to Italy as well, where Occitan became the accepted language of high poetry. The musical achievements of Machaut in France and Landini in Italy at the end of the 14th century are among the greatest manifestations of the medieval culture of courtly love.
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