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Courtly Song in Late Sixteenth-Century France

In the late sixteenth century, the French royal court was mobile. To distinguish itself from the rest of society, it depended more on its cultural practices and attitudes than on the royal and aristocratic palaces it inhabited. Using courtly song-or the air de cour-as a window, Jeanice Brooks offers an unprecedented look into the culture of this itinerant institution.

Brooks concentrates on a period in which the court’s importance in projecting the symbolic centrality of monarchy was growing rapidly and considers the role of the air in defining patronage hierarchies at court and in enhancing courtly visions of masculine and feminine virtue. Her study illuminates the court’s relationship to the world beyond its own confines, represented first by Italy, then by the countryside. In addition to the 40 editions of airs de cour printed between 1559 and 1589, Brooks draws on memoirs, literary works, and iconographic evidence to present a rounded vision of French Renaissance culture.

The first book-length examination of the history of air de cour, this work also sheds important new light on a formative moment in French history.

560 pages | 6 halftones, 8 tables, 34 musical examples | 6-5/8 x 9-3/8 | © 2001

History: European History

Music: General Music

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
List of Abbreviations
The Court and the Air de Cour
The Courts of the Last Valois
Chansons de la cour beaucoup plus legieres: Defining a Genre
Courtly Song and Court Culture
Paying Court
Household Positions and Court Careers
The Rhetoric of Patronage
The Conjunction of Arms and Letters
L’ame bien née: Music as Touchstone of Nobility
The Education of Achilles
Music as Weapon in the Warfare of Love
Women’s Voices
Women Singers and Women’s Songs
Catherine de Médicis, nouvelle Arthémise: Women’s Laments and the Virtue of Grief
The Art of Civil Conversation: Courtly Neoplatonism and the Dialogue Air
Dialogues with Italy
Les louanges des Dieux et des hommes vertueux: Arcadelt and Clereau in the Service of the Guises
La musique selon sa perfection: Baïf’s Academy, the Villanella, and musique mesurée
Pastoral Utopias
L’eslite de tous les bergers de Gaule: Pastoral Romance and the air de cour
Rustic Songs and the Rustic Life
Appendix 1: Documents
Appendix 2: Chamber and Chapel Musicians in Royal Records, 1559-89


1. Genealogy of the Valois
2. Le ciel qui fut large donneur, from Adrian Le Roy, Livre d’airs de cour miz sur le luth
3. Portrait of Adrian Le Roy, from the Livre d’airs de cour miz sur le luth
4. Attributed to Antoine Caron, La remise du livre et de l’épée
5. Attributed to Antoine Caron, Le jeune roi apprend la musique
6. Nicolas Boucher, La conjunction des lettres et des armes des deux tresillustres princes lorrains, title page
7. Attributed to Antoine Caron, Les cendres du roi
8. Jean Juste, gisants of Louis XII and Anne de Bretagne
9. Germain Pilon, gisants of Catherine de Médicis and Henri II

1. Adrian Le Roy’s 1571 Livre d’airs de cour
2. Prints of Strophic Songs, 1559-89
3. Airs de cour in Feminine Voices
4. Dialogue airs de cour for Male and Female Interlocutors
5. Italian Secular Vocal Music Published in France, 1530-1600
6. Jean de Baïf’s vers mesurés on Italian Models
7. Non-measured Villanella Translations in the air de cour Repertory

Musical Examples
1.1. Adrian Le Roy, Or voy-je bien qu’il faut vivre en servage
1.2. Diego Ortiz, Recercada quarta
1.3. Adrian Le Roy, Je suis Amour
1.4. Guillaume Tessier, O beau laurier
1.5. Pierre Bonnet, O beau laurier
1.6. Jacques Salmon, O beau laurier
1.7. Adrian Le Roy, Quand le gril chante
1.8. Filippo Azzaiolo, Quando la sera
1.9. Adrian Le Roy, Tant que j’estois à vous seul agreeable
3.1. Pierre Clereau, Ores qu’on voit de toutes pars
3.2. Thibault de Courville, Arme arme o mes loyaux pensers
3.3. "Rechant à 3 de Courvile" from Claude Le Jeune, Arm’ arm’ ô vous mes loyaus pensers
3.4. Claude Le Jeune, Arm’ arm’ ô vous mes loyaus pensers
3.5. Claude Le Jeune, Arm’ arm’ ô vous mes loyaus pensers
3.6. Clément Janequin, La guerre
3.7. Guillaume Costeley, La prise de Calais
4.1. Girard de Beaulieu?, Mais que me sert Tethys ceste escaille (Balet comique de la royne)
4.2. Adrian Le Roy, Mon coeur ma chere vie
4.3. Adrian Le Roy, Pour m’esloigner et changer de contrée
4.4. Nicolas de La Grotte, Ah que c’est un estrange martyre
4.5. Claude Le Jeune, Belle la flamme à l’envi
5.1. Jacques Arcadelt, Qui pourra dire la douleur
5.2. Jacques Arcadelt, Mon plaint soit entendu
5.3. Jacques Arcadelt, Montium custos, nemorumque virgo
5.4. Pierre Clereau, Comme un qui prend une coupe
5.5. Jacques Arcadelt, La pastorella mia
5.6. Anon., La pastorella mia
5.7. Scipione de Palla, Dura legge d’amor
5.8. Gasparo Fiorino, Come’l sol fra le nuvole
5.9. Fabrice Marin Caietain, Une puce j’ay dedans l’oreille
6.1. Guillaume Tessier, Tandis que le soleil ardant
6.2. Pierre Bonnet, Une fille de village
6.3. Guillaume Tessier, Je le veux pour amy
6.4. Jacques Arcadelt, La Diane que je sers
6.5. Jehan Planson, Amour ne pouvant vivre avec la feintise


Sixteenth Century Studies Conference: Roland H. Bainton Book Prize

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