Melodic Variance in the Songs of Thibaut de Champagne

Christopher Callahan, Daniel E. O’Sullivan

Research output: Journal ArticleArticlepeer-review


Editing monophonic songs of Old French poets from roughly the second half of the twelfth to the early fourteenth centuries, poses several challenges, not least of which requires addressing variance on the level of both text and melody. Thibaut IV, king of Navarre, left his public over sixty songs characterized by generic breadth, registral subtlety, and varying melodic range. While providing reliable versions for study and performance, editors still need to help readers glimpse musical alternatives and variants in meaningful ways; otherwise, they run the risk of diminishing readers’ understanding of the trouvère tradition. In this article, the authors examine micro-variation in concordant melodies as well as how information on non-concordant, unica melodies and rhythmic interpretations in later manuscripts fleshes out a musical aesthetic that appears, but is not, simple and straightforward.

Original languageAmerican English
JournalVariants: the Journal of the European Society for Textual Scholarship
StatePublished - 2016


  • philology
  • scholarly editing
  • music editing
  • mediaeval manuscripts
  • French literature


  • Arts and Humanities

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