18 New Translations

As I mentioned earlier, I have been asked to create singable translations for all the pieces at St. Cecilia Press, and I am happy to be able to say that I have finished! (Or, at least, I’m caught up until Monique adds more pieces.)

My recent translations include 16 pieces to accompany Monique’s editions, plus two I’ve done just on my own initiative. 🙂 They are as follows: Continue reading

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Altas undas que venez suz la mar

For fun, I’ve written a singable translation of a little piece that has been attributed to my favorite troubadour, Raimbaut de Vaqueiras. It is almost certainly not by him, since it is not at all his style, but it is cute nonetheless.

Sadly, I cannot find any information about the original tune for this piece. It might not exist anymore. I was able to find a couple of recordings of people singing these lyrics to different tunes, however. Perhaps these tunes are composed by the performers?

Having given up on finding an extant 12th-century tune for these lyrics, I’ve decided to simply place them here, sans music. Here are the original lyrics, if you’d like to compare – as I said, they are very cute.

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Pos sabers no.m val ni sens

Another piece from our friend, Guiraut Riquier. I’m so enthusiastic about this guy’s passion for form – and the sincerity of his words – that I want to keep exploring his work!  🙂

In this one, Guiraut experiments with a circular form in which the final line of each stanza is the first line of the next stanza (and the final line of last stanza is, of course, the first line of the poem). In addition, odd-numbered (1, 3, 5) and even-numbered (2, 4, 6) stanzas have an inverted structure: the rhyme pattern of the first half of the odd stanzas is the same as the rhyme pattern of the second half of the even stanzas, and vice versa. Yet the two halves of each stanza are connected because they share a rhyme throughout (lines 2, 4, 7, and 9).

Guiraut employs the same form in the melody. In general, lines that rhyme share melodic information. And he also echoes the two-half structure: In the manuscript, he uses a special sign to indicate that Verses 1, 3, and 5 should be sung as written, but Verses 2, 4, and 6 should be sung differently. For the even-numbered verses, the singer begins on line 6 of the tune and, after reaching the end, returns to the top of the page to eventually end on line 5. I’ve never seen instructions like that for a troubadour piece before, so I am super-excited!

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