Starting in the late thirteenth century and continuing through the sixteenth century, the urban laity and clergy of northern France and the Low Countries formed creative societies dedicated to the composition of new music and poetry. These societies, called puys, are well-known for their poet-musicians (trouvères), who produced vernacular texts that would lay the foundation for the French poetic tradition throughout the Middle Ages and Renaissance.
The northern French city of Lille was a vibrant center of music production, although much of what was written has been lost. Despite the small number of existing music books, there are many references to music production in archival sources from the city’s different lay, ecclesiastical, and monastic communities. This study explores what we can learn about both plainchant and vernacular song composition through an investigation of these documents along with several chant books and compilations of poetry. Viewed together, these sources reveal for the first time an important history of collaboration between the clergy and the laity that formed a vital part of Lilloise identity.
Members of the community can learn more about this topic during the Department of Music colloquium Friday, Oct. 27, from 4 to 5 p.m. in Harkness Chapel.
About the speaker
Sarah Ann Long is Associate Professor of Musicology at the Michigan State University College of Music. Her research focuses on liturgy in the late medieval and early modern periods in northern France and the Low Countries (1300-1600). From 2008-2013, Long was a postdoctoral research fellow and visiting instructor at the University of Leuven-KU Leuven (formerly the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven) in Belgium. She is co-author (with Inga Behrendt) of the first volume of the Antiphonaria series, Antiphonaria: A Catalogue of Notated Office Manuscripts Preserved in Flanders (c.1100 – c. 1800) (Brepols, 2015), which contains detailed studies of chant manuscripts held in public and private collections in Belgium. Dr. Long received a two-year Marie Curie IEF Postdoctoral Fellowship from the European Commission (2011-2012) to do research for her first monograph, Music, Liturgy, and Confraternity Devotions in Paris and Tournai, 1300-1550 (University of Rochester Press, 2021). She is currently part of a number of international research initiatives, such as the Single Interface for Music Score Searching and Analysis Project (SIMSSA)/Cantus Ultimus, funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, McGill University, Montréal (2015-continuing); and she is a Research Associate of the Alamire Foundation: International Centre for the Study of Music in the Low Countries, University of Leuven (2013-continuing). Dr. Long is currently constructing a third book project on music and musicians in the northern French city of Lille from the thirteenth through the fifteenth century. Long has given courses and guest lectures on a wide range of both historical and ethnomusicological subjects at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Southern Methodist University’s Paris Program, and the University of Leuven. In 2015 she was awarded the Fintz Award for Teaching Excellence in the Arts and Humanities, granted by the MSU Integrated Arts and Humanities program for outstanding performance in teaching.