Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Cuidoient li losengier: Part 2

Questions were beginning to arise as to the difference between medieval French and modern French. So, at the recommendation of a few people I greatly respect in the subject of singing period music, I borrowed a copy of Singing Early Music (which I plan to buy shortly because of the wealth of knowledge within its pages). I then sat down and began to work.

I got about four lines into working on making the IPA in a mixture of middle and early French (which felt correct due to how things were spelled, even though the time period of the piece proves it about 45 years past early French. But then you have the question of what region is the author from, how quickly that region progressed from early to middle, etc. So I did it as a mixture due to spelling choices used in the piece), when I realized I was missing an integral piece of material for helping me to fully understand the syllables of the song: a scan or photo of the actual honest document. So much can be lost in translation from the Oxford Anthology trying to decipher the piece, so it was hunted down so I could fairly view the original as well. Did it help? I felt it helped immensely and even helped me to further understand how things were written in musical notation during that time. But I did manage to have a few questions. Here is the copy of the manuscript page in question.

Now, looking at the manuscript, one of my biggest questions has to do with the refrain of the song. So if anyone can explain why each time they wrote the song refrain, the nixed a few more words of it until the end, where they wrote the whole thing again. Another song starts immediately after, so it would make one think they would have had the space to fit the whole song, but that is neither here nor there really. It was just a question in the back of my mind.

Addition Edit: For those unable to make it out, I had written up my description of what was happening in the text to a friend: I just found it odd that the repeated section (that only differs, alone, in the second verse) starts, written in the music, as "et siere (it honestly looks like an s, not a g like all the others) envoisie. chantant et jolie." The second verse states "sen sui renvoisie chãtãt." (look familiar to the modern IPA for the song?) and then it stops there with no symbol to mean 'continue the phrase' or anything. The third says "et giere envoisie." (fixed from the first ending) again ending with no further symbol. The fourth, "et giere." and then the last, "et giere envoisie chantant et jolie." returning us back to the original full phrasing.

Needless to say, looking at the actual document in congruence with what is in the Oxford Anthology made me feel more confident in my translations as I could see even more obviously where the syllables were seated as well as double checking on simple letter choices in words. Much more confident.

As I began reading the Singing Early Music book, there were very particular rules that I quickly took notes on so I could reference them (for the time period I was looking to work in for the song). The notes were only for the consonants and they were as follows:

-Double consonants are simplified to single except r's.
-Double r's are pronounced [rr] with 2 or sometimes 3 tongue flips.
-Double s's denotes [s]
-Single s's denotes [z]
-All final consonants are pronounced except voiced become unvoiced ([d], [g], [v] all become [t], [k], [f] respectively)
-Voicing or unvoicing due to the following consonant was a common practice
-c before an a, o, or u is pronounced [k]; before an e or i is  pronounced [ts]
-ch is pronounced [ʧ]
-g before an a, o, or us is pronounced [ɡ]; before an e or i is pronounced [ʤ]
-j is pronounced [ʤ]
-l at the beginning of a word or syllable is pronounced [l]; if followed by a consonant, even if in the next word, is pronounced [w]; if il or ill, pronounced [ʎ]
 -n and m both are still pronounced after their nasalized vowels
-[ɲ] is pronounced much like the Spanish ñ and usually spelled gn or ign
- q or qu is pronounced [k]
-r is pronounced [r̥] much like in modern Spanish or Italian, final r's dropped in 13th C
-s in the final position is pronounced as [s]. Inside a word, s maintains a [s] when followed by a t,p, or k. Followed by any other consonant, it is silent (to me, this all means that an s sounds as a [z] if followed by any vowel. Otherwise, these rules apply).
-x was used commonly for -us which was usually pronounced as [ws]
-z is pronounced [ts]

(All information stated here directly acquired from Singing Early Music edited by Timothy J McGee. Full book information at the end in bibliography format.)

Mind you, this is only the consonants. The vowels are much more convoluted and I highly recommend picking up the book to look at the charts of the how's and when's for all the vowels.

With all this new information, here is the new verse written out in IPA:

kɥidwɛãnt li lɔzãʤjɛr̥
pɔr̥ tsə zə il õnt mãnti
kə ʤə mə dwɛ ɛlwɛɲjɛr̥
dãmɔr̥s ɛt də mõn ãmi
ə nõn djø ʤə lãmɛr̥e
ɛt bõnãmɔr̥ zɛr̥vir̥e
nɥit ɛt ʤɔr̥
sãns fɛr̥e fɔlɔr̥
ɛt ʤɛr̥ãnvwɛziə
ʧãntãnt ɛt ʤɔliə

One of the most important factor changes is that in early French, everything that was written was sung. It was almost as if they wrote things out phonetically. This was greater reinforced by viewing the original manuscript, for me. Seeing that the 'e' of jolie has its own note, even in the original manuscript. This was another reason I mingled the middle and early French.

Another important thing to remember is there is quite a huge difference between what is sung and what is spoken. My next step from here is to re-write this into strictly early, middle, and renaissance French for both lyrical and spoken so the changes can, again, be quite visible to anyone curious.

As it is, the changes I have already gone through with pronunciation to this song are astounding.

To view the progress of this project from the beginning, please view the previous entry: Cuidoient li losengier

To continue in the series, read the latest entry: Cuidoient Part 3

Newest edition to the bibliography:

McGee, Timothy J., A. G. Rigg and David N. Klausner, eds. Singing Early Music: The Pronunciation of European Languages in the Late Middle Ages and Renaissance. Bloomington: Indiana UP, 1996.