In the music of the trouvères, notation offers an imperfect form of musical memory. The late 13th-century chansonnier V encloses 300 vernacular lyrics with melodies, including several imperfectly remembered pieces marked as irregular in Hans Tischler’s edition of trouvère melodies and excluded from the only edition of V, Fiona MacAlpine’s 1974 dissertation. The faults in V have usually been attributed to its scribes, particularly the music notators. This paper argues that the chansonnier’s flaws stem rather from its patchwork compilation: V’s notator resorted to fragmentary exemplars to reconstruct the music. The incomplete songs therefore expose the failure of written memory.
Baude Cordier’s 15th-century chanson, Belle, bonne, sage, is the earliest example of a text written in the form of a heart. The song’s notational characteristics reflect the medieval trope that the heart was a place for inscription; it was a locus of memory, conscience, and understanding. When performing off the notated score, the singer reads the personal life-narrative inscribed on his own heart, and is granted the opportunity for self-reflection and conversion. The singer is offered the possibility of transformation into Christ’s Image at the Last Judgment, when his interior ‘book’ will be opened and read.
In this conference I would like to present how Byzantine music is performed and learnt in the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople through extensive recordings that have been made between July 2014 and December 2015. As an insider of this tradition, I did extensive fieldwork in the Ecumenical Patriarchate and I recorded one of the best chanters, Stelios Floikos, who is Archon Lambadarios of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. My aim is to present a living tradition in which memory plays a key role in the preservation and transmission from teacher to apprentice. Furthermore my aim is to present a living tradition rather than speaking historically and moreover I want to contribute in the field of historical ethnomusicology as well as medieval studies in general.