February 11, 2010


There are two songs who's melodies I particularly wanted to take a look at - "Lai Non Par" and "Lai Markiol."  So I trot my happy self down to the library to get a copy of Hendrik van der Werf's Extant Troubadour Melodies, the seminal collection of, you guessed it, extant troubadour melodies.  Checked out.  Blast.

Far from daunted, I figured the only other person likely to have it checked out was the professor in charge of the Early Music Ensemble, and that I'd beg it off of him for a few days at rehearsal.  So I get to rehearsal, and before I can even broach the subject, he tells me about this great book he has, and would I like to borrow it.  HELL YES I'D LIKE TO BORROW IT, THANK YOU!!!  I giddily drag it home on the bus (it's rather large), eagerly crack it open, and...not there.  Blast.

Utterly betrayed by van der Werf, I turn to the internet where I find generous fragments of the melodies, which thank you I already have in books and I want THE WHOLE THING!!!  But I do find some helpful footnotes...

To make a long story short, I spent this afternoon tearing through books in three languages (one of which I actually speak) and eventually find one book devoted to both songs, containing transcribed melodies in all their complete, stemless glory.  Deux lais en langue mixte, by Dominique Billy.  Yes, I did a geeky little end-zone dance there in the stacks which may or may not have involved antlers.  No, I do not speak French, so Billy's no doubt brilliant analysis and commentary will be utterly lost on me.  Fortunately, however, dots on a page transcend the petty constraints of national dialect.


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