Wednesday, January 3, 8170

Compiler of Chansonnier Cange (b. c. 1170)

[From an album featuring selections of the Chansonnier Cange]

Anonymous French (b. c. 1170) - Chansonnier Cange (c. 1200)

Chanson a Refrain "A prisai qu'en (Panpipes)

The pan flute (also known as panflute or panpipes) is an ancient musical instrument based on the principle of the Closed tube, consisting usually of ten or more pipes of gradually increasing length (and, at times, girth). The pan flute has long been popular as a folk instrument, and is considered the ancestor of both the pipe organ and the harmonica.

[Pan teaching Daphnis to play the flute [evidently the Daphnis of the much later Maurice Ravel Daphnis et Chloe)]

The pan flute is named for its association with the rustic Greek god Pan. The pipes of the pan flute are typically made from bamboo or giant reed (Arundo donax); other materials used include wood, plastic, and metal.

Another term for the pan flute is syrinx, from Greek mythology, the story of Pan. The plural of syrinx is syringes, from which the modern word syringe is derived. (Pan pipes is both singular and plural.) Other names for the instrument include the Latin fistula panis.

The pipes comprising it are stopped at one end, at which the standing wave is reflected giving a note an octave lower than that produced by an open pipe of equal length. In the traditional South American style, pipes are fine-tuned to correct pitch by placing small pebbles or dry corn kernels into the bottom of the pipes. Contemporary makers of curved Romanian-style panpipes use wax (commonly beeswax) to tune new instruments. Special tools are used to place or remove the wax. Corks and rubber stoppers are also used, and are easier to quickly tune pipes.
The acoustic properties of the pan flute are in the Helmholtz oscillator class of closed tube acoustics. It shares acoustic properties with other instruments, such as the ocarina, gemshorn, Native American flute and the clarinet. Generation of a fundamental frequency is produced by blowing across the open end of the tube, thus creating a Von Karman vortex street by means of a siphon effect at the top of the tube. The tuned resonator body then supports this frequency. An overblown harmonic register is near a 12th above the fundamental in cylindrical tubes, but can approach an octave jump (8th) if a decreasing taper is used.

A narrow tube will sound "reedy," while a wide one will sound "flutey."

The pan flute is played by blowing horizontally across the open end against the sharp inner edge of the pipes. Each pipe is tuned to a note, called the fundamental. By overblowing, that is, increasing the pressure of breath and tension of lips, odd harmonics (notes whose frequencies are odd-number multiples of the fundamental),near a 12th in cylindrical tubes, may also be produced. The Romanian panflute has the pipes arranged in a curved array, enabling the player to easily reach all the notes by simply swiveling their head. These instruments can also play all the sharps and flats, with a special technique of both tilting the pipes and jaw movement, thus reducing the size of the pipe's opening and producing a change in pitch. An advanced player can play any scale and in any key. There are two styles of vibrato possible, hand vibrato and breath vibrato. In hand vibrato, the player applies a gentle motion to one end of the panflute (usually the high end) in much the same way as the violin vibrato is achieved by rocking the hand from the wrist. Breath vibrato is the same technique used by players of the flute and other woodwinds by use of the player's diaphragm.

Lai "Qui Porroit un guierredon" (c. 1200) (Metal Strung Harp)

Pastourelle "Au tans d'aost"
(c. 1200) (Bladder Pipes)

A chansonnier (Catalan: cançoner, Galician and Portuguese: cancioneiro, Italian: canzoniere or canzoniéro, Spanish: cancionero) is a manuscript or printed book which contains a collection of chansons, or polyphonic and monophonic settings of chansons. The most important chansonniers contain lyrics, poems and songs of the trouvères or troubadours of the Middle Ages. Prior to 1420, almost all chansonniers contained both sacred and secular music, with the exception of those containing the work of Guillaume de Machaut. Around 1420, sacred and secular music was segregated into separate sources, with large choirbooks containing sacred music, and smaller chansonniers for more private use by the privileged. Chansonniers were compiled primarily in France, but also in Italy and Germany; however, even when they were compiled elsewhere, they contain mostly French polyphonic chansons.

A singer of chansons could also be called a chansonnier.

Selected list of important chansonniers


Cançoner de Paris-Charpentras
Cançoner de la Universitat de Saragossa
Cançoner de vides de sants
Jardinet d'Orats


Chansonnier Cange
Chansonnier de Arras
Chansonnier du Roi (also Occitan)
Copenhagen Chansonnier
Dijon Chansonnier
Florentine Chansonnier
Seville Chansonnier
Wolfenbüttel Chansonnier


Chansonnier de Saint-Germain-des-Prés
Philipps Manuscript


Cancioneiro da Biblioteca Nacional
Cancioneiro da Ajuda
Cancioneiro da Vaticana
Llibre Vermell de Montserrat


Cancionero de Baena
Cancionero de Palacio
Colombina Cancionero


Chanson (French for "song") refers to any song with French words, but more specifically classic, lyric-driven French songs, European songs in the cabaret style, or a diverse range of songs interpreted in this style. A singer specializing in chansons is known as a chansonnier; a collection of chansons, especially from the late Middle Ages and Renaissance, is also known as a chansonnier.

In a more specialised usage, the word 'chanson' refers to a polyphonic French song of the late Middle Ages and Renaissance. Early chansons tended to be in one of the formes fixes, ballade, rondeau or virelai, though some composers later set popular poetry in a variety of forms.
The earliest chansons were for two, three or four voices, with first three becoming the norm, expanding to four voices by the 16th century. Sometimes, the singers were accompanied by instruments.


A lai was a song form composed in northern Europe, mainly France and Germany, from the 1200's to the late 1300's.

The poetic form of the lai usually has several stanzas, none of which have the same form. As a result, the accompanying music consists of sections which do not repeat. This distinguishes the lai from other common types of musically important verse of the period (for example, the rondeau and the ballade). Towards the end of its development in the 14th century, some lais repeat stanzas, but usually only in the longer examples. There is one very late example of a lai, written to mourn the defeat of the French at the Battle of Agincourt (1415), (Lay de la guerre, by Pierre de Nesson) but no music for it survives.

There are four lais in the Roman de Fauvel, all of them anonymous. The lai reached its highest level of development as a musical and poetic form in the work of Guillaume de Machaut; 19 separate lais by this 14th-century ars nova composer survive, and they are among his most sophisticated and highly-developed secular compositions.

Other terms for the lai, or for forms which were very similar to the lai, include descort (Provençal), Leich (German), and Lay (English).


The pastourelle is a typically Old French lyric form concerning the romance of a shepherdess. In most of the early pastourelles, the poet knight meets a shepherdess who bests him in a wit battle and who displays general coyness. The narrator usually has sexual relations, either consensual or rape, with the shepherdess, and there is a departure or escape. Later developments moved toward pastoral poetry by having a shepherd and sometimes a love quarrel. The form originated with the troubadour poets of the 12th century and particularly with the poet Marcabru.

This troubadour form melded with goliard poetry and was practiced in France and Occitan until the Carmina Burana of c. 1230. In Spanish literature, the pastourelle influenced the serranilla, and fifteenth century pastourelles exist in French, German, English, and Welsh. Adam de la Halle's Jeu de Robin et Marion (The Game of Robin and Marion) is a dramatization of a pastourelle, and as late as Edmund Spenser the pastourelle is referred to in book six of Faerie Queene.