Songs in circulation, texts in transmission: English sources and the Dublin Troper

Helen Deeming, Samantha Blickhan

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Though the term ‘medieval song’ is most often associated with continental repertory, recent scholarship has begun to illuminate the vibrant culture of song that co-existed with it in 13th-century England. An examination of approximately 125 surviving songs from English sources shows that, though many possess a formal relationship to specific medieval liturgical genres (especially the sequence form), the songs do not often have liturgical usage. In fact, the repertory is almost entirely contained within miscellany manuscripts. Therefore, it is of interest that 17 of these songs are found again in the 14th-century Dublin Troper (Cambridge, University Library, Add. Ms. 710), making it the most significant witness to a wider (and later) transmission of 13th-century English song.
This article presents case studies of two songs that appear in the English song repertory of the 13th century and then reappear in the Dublin Troper, with alternative texts, around a century later. It highlights the new discovery of these contrafact relationships and considers the songs from the perspectives of notation and transmission. By comparing the songs in miscellany sources to the later versions collected within a liturgical context, we can begin to build a more complete picture of the influence that both scribal practice and manuscript culture had on the collection of notated song.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11–25
Number of pages15
JournalEarly Music
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 10 Jun 2017

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