Representation and resistance: Female vocality in thirteenth-century France [electronic resource].

Grau, Anna Kathryn.
244 p.
Middle Ages.
Literature, Medieval.
System Details:
Mode of access: World Wide Web.
Since the 1970s, a growing number of scholars have attempted to recover the female voice in medieval French song, largely through the recuperation of female composers dismissed by nineteenth-century scholars. At the same time, questions of voice and subjectivity have become increasingly important in studies of French literature of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. The present study builds on this literature to construct a cultural history of the female-voice French lyric; it investigates the literary traditions that informed stereotypes of female vocality, women's access to musical performance, and the possibility for resistance through reception. The discourse around female vocality in medieval literature reveals a consistent association of women with specific vocal behaviors, particularly vocal excess. However, some sources incorporate these stereotypes in ways that resist standard characterizations of the vocal behavior of women. The possibility for resistance depends in part on women's access to these sources and to discussion and debate, access often thought to have been limited by women's marginalized social position and contemporary listening practices. An investigation into the prominence of women in courts in thirteenth-century France suggests that in fact women were often in a position to preside over performance of songs and their evaluation. Given this new understanding of listening practices, I pursue a fresh evaluation of the chansons de femme, or female-voice Old French song. By demonstrating that musical conventions for the representation of gender can be found in this repertory, I expand the discussion of musical style in medieval song. The genre of the motet, which complicates discussions of narrative subjectivity through its juxtaposition of multiple simultaneous texts, provokes further discussion of the possibilities of representation of subjectivity in musical style. Analysis of a number of related examples demonstrates close connections between musical content and lyric subject. My exploration of a heretofore-neglected link between the formal characteristics of songs and motets and their subjects demonstrates that thirteenth century poet-composers integrated text, character, narrative, and music to a degree not previously recognized.
Source: Dissertation Abstracts International, Volume: 71-07, Section: A, page: 2285.
Adviser: Emma Dillon.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Pennsylvania, 2010.
Local notes:
School code: 0175.
University of Pennsylvania.
Contained In:
Dissertation Abstracts International 71-07A.
Access Restriction:
Restricted for use by site license.
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