A troubadour course will be offered in conjunction with Performing Trobar in 2013-14. Contact mgalvez [at] stanford.edu (Marisa Galvez) for more information.
Through a seminar, workshops, and a concert at Memorial Church, the Performing Trobar project seeks to cultivate the experience of troubadour lyric as live performance. During the brief period from 1100 to 1300, a tradition of poetry took hold in southern France that combined passion and restraint, desire and song, and that still remains part of our cultural heritage. Today, scholars consider this episode the beginning of the Western tradition of secular love poetry. At its height, this art form of an essentially musical nature developed into a tradition in which the representation of love and erotic desire was bound up with the invention of original melodies using a storehouse of common themes and variations in metrical structures. A dominating element of this poetry was performance: the poet-lover, as a ‘finder’ of a song (trobar means to find, to invent), had to prove him or herself worthy as a lover not only as composer of an original song, but as a performer of that song before a live audience. In exposing students and the Stanford community to the rich aural and verbal texture of the medieval world, we can move closer to the original performative environment that constitutes the very nature of this poetic tradition.