What is a Troubadour and What is a Minstrel –

Important figures in a very intense and convulsive historical period such as the Middle Ages, both figures belonged to popular culture. Entertaining through the streets of towns and villages or in private shows for lords and gentlemen of the court. But we know how to differentiate one figure from another,he is a Troubadour and what is a Minstrelwhat characteristics unites them and what differentiates them.

What is a Troubadour

the minstrelsfundamentally they were poets and musicians that developed artistic expression in the Middle Ages. They were poets in the middle ages who wrote their works and set them to music with their own compositions, for this reason they were considered both poets and musicians.

These works could be performed by themselves or could be played by minstrels or by minstrels. This was because the troubadours used to belong to upper social classes, where the literary expression was well seen but not so much, playing the instruments in such a way that the troubadours often resorted to minstrels for instrumental accompaniment. Later the figure of minstrel who always accompanied the troubadour and was in charge of the instrumental accompaniment.

we can place the birth of the figure of the troubadour in the south of France, specifically in the area of ​​Provence, ending the eleventh century, this movement quickly spread throughout Europe, being a more important figure in countries like Germany, Italy and Spain, considering them missing with the arrival of the Renaissance.

Language in which these compositions were made was the Provencal. Later the figure of the troubadour changed to that of the troubadours, especially in the north of France. Though the minstrels had appeared a century later, in the twelfth century, its theme was the same as that of the troubadours, love fundamentally, but they used the tongue of oila language that would eventually give rise to today’s French.

The troubadours in Germany received the name of Minnesinger and its literature was written in German. In the zone of Galicia, the troubadours achieved great fame and importance, here their compositions were called songs.

What is a Troubadour | Type of Compositions

The troubadours used to have as main topic songs related to love, with the political and world view, often being used as political propaganda compositions.

The moral aspects were also a topic to be dealt with in the compositions, although if we have to make a differentiation between themes we will say that they could be divided into 3 types:

  • Genres Conditioned by Versification: Here the important thing is not the theme but the metric, this type of genres used to deal with love themes. The ballad and the dance.
  • Genres Conditioned by Content: This genre includes practically all themes such as poems of a religious, pastoral, crusade, etc. nature. The canso, the siventés, the planto, the religious dawn, the pastorela and the serranista.
  • The genres conditioned by the debate between troubadours: Compositions that were intended for confrontation through a dialogue between two opposing troubadours. Tension and the match game

Types of testers

According to the authors, there are a series of differences between the troubadours, such as the language they used and their place of birth, which are what determine that there are 3 different types:

  • troubadours: they come from the south of France, specifically from Provence, and they are known for writing in Oc.
  • troubadours: They wrote in the Oil language and they were from the northern part of the country.
  • Minnesinger: they were German troubadours who wrote in this language and who based their literature on love

Origin of the troubadour

The source of the figure of troubadour It is linked to the appearance of the language of oc or Occitan language, an ancient Provençal language that began to be used, especially in the south of France, in the Eleventh century. From there it soon spread to other adjacent areas, for example southern Italy or northeastern Spain, especially in the part of the Aran Valley.

Soon, people began to appear and began to write poems in this occitan language. Normally they were texts that talked about love, but they could also talk about many other things. The verses could speak from politics, to burning issues in society, or touch on other sticks such as humor.

It should be said that these troubadours did not make these creations as something necessary to live, that is, they used to be people belonging to high society and that of troubadour it was not his main occupation. This contrasts with the figure of the minstrelswho were permanently dedicated to traveling between towns offering their performances.

It could be said that, while the troubadours emerged as a kind of high society poets who offered fixed creations and higher quality compositions, the minstrels were something like nomadic storytellers who served more to amuse the masses and whose stories could vary at will from one performance to another.

As we say, the first troubadours appeared already at the beginning of the 12th century. In fact, there are documents that show that at the end of the 14th century there were already more than 400 minstrels (It was in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries when its production reached greater importance). It should also be noted that initially, the troubadour was distinguished from the poet in that the poet wrote poetry in the Latin language, while the troubadour did so in the Romance language.

It must be said that the Occitan language in which the troubadours wrote is still a widely used language, not in vain it is still spoken by almost 2 million people, especially in the south of France, but as we have already said, in other areas of France or Italy. In total, it is estimated that about 8 million people are able to understand it without problems.

Poetic styles of the troubadours

The productions of the troubadours were quite different from those of the minstrels. First of all, the troubadours were recognized people and artists of society. They themselves composed their own works, and the musical accompaniment, although they did not always represent them. The most common theme of his compositions was the love. That is to say, his works are not called to recount great deeds or historical feats, but instead seek to be more intimate, deep and personal.

The two great themes that the compositions of the troubadours deal with are the Polite lovethat is, the relationships of love and heartbreak between the members of the Court, and on the other hand the amorous vassalagewhich is the loving surrender of the troubadour to a female figure to whom he dedicates his verses.

As for the way of being composed, we can also find different styles. On one hand we have the song, a composition made up of 5, 6 or 7 stanzas, usually also with a love theme. The servants it has the same characteristics in terms of length, but usually deals with social and political issues, usually in a satirical tone. There are many other types, depending on the theme they are talking about or other characteristics. Some are the tense, the pastorela, the dawn, the romansa, the hideout or the stampedeamong many others.

If we talk about general styles, we can talk about the light or flat trova, which used simple language and basic and understandable ideas for everyone. On the other hand there was the hermetic trovawhich was based on more personal and complex compositions, seeking the formation of stylistic resources or beauty in deeper literary forms.

What is a minstrel

The minstrels were men dedicated to the spectacle, they were traveling musicians who delighted in singing songs, playing instruments or performing all kinds of acrobatics. The minstrels belonged, unlike the troubadours, to a lower class.

minstrels they did not compose they simply limited themselves to singing plagiarizing or copying the songs that the troubadours created. The language used by minstrels was a Vulgar language little care, the language of the people and the street, something that was not well accepted by both the church and the higher social strata.

minstrels They were not the artists who were hired at court, neither in palaces nor in castles, the minstrels acted in the town squaresthey traveled from town to town, sometimes joining caravans of fairgrounds and other times making their way alone.

However, although they did not usually enjoy a good reputation, some of them did. they came to have a certain fame and recognitionthese minstrels settled in the big cities and refined their show and style.

Thanks in large part to the minstrels, It has been possible to transmit orally both traditions and medieval epic stories. The minstrels have been able to send us both tales of medieval epic poetry to the courtly poetry that began the Renaissance.

types of minstrels

Depending on the central theme of his works or the type of performances he carried out, the minstrels could be of different types.

For example, there were the lyrical minstrels who dedicated themselves to interpreting the compositions made by the troubadours. If the stories were about chansons de geste or other stories about wars and battles, they are called epic minstrels.

However, as can happen today with street artists (this was precisely what they were playing), there was an enormous variety of minstrels who performed any type of number. There were some who imitated famous personalities or the people who witnessed the show. others did Magic Tricks. others were comedians who made people laugh by dressing in provocative clothes and making obscene gestures for the time, etc.

It must also be said that some minstrels were voicethat is, they recited texts or sang during their performances, while others were only from instrumentthat is, they recited an instrumental piece without voice accompaniment.

Poetic styles of minstrels

The minstrels can be divided, mainly, into two large aspects (the works of both are part of the mester of minstrelsy).

On one side would be the epic minstrels. These told the nobles and the people who wanted to see them, epic stories related to epic songs. For their part, the lyrical minstrels used to represent works by the troubadours, usually more intimate and personal, related to love.

The literature of the minstrels was much simpler and plainer than that of the troubadours. In fact, many of his works had no written basis and changed from one version to another as the reader wanted. minstrel. For this reason, in those days they were one of the main transmitters of oral stories.

In his compositions, the allusions to the audience or to a particular person «hear me», «know what», etc. Normally, they used to use in their verses the assonance rhyme, because it gave them more facilities to improvise. The length of the verses was also irregular, normally varying between 11 and 16 syllables (standing out above all the Alexandrians).

Differences between a troubadour and a minstrel

Once we know what the troubadour’s mission was and…