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Linear Narratives in Cyclical Form: the Hunt for Reason in the Cantigas de Santa Maria

Linear Narratives in Cyclical Form: the Hunt for Reason in the Cantigas de Santa Maria Central to the world of thirteenth‐century Galician‐Portuguese song are the Cantigas de Santa Maria (CSM), on whose narrative cantigas de miragre this article focuses. These songs comprise alternations between a refrain and strophes that finish by reiterating the refrain's metre, rhymes and melody. Combining the strictly linear narrative of the miracle cantiga with this cyclical framework poses manifold complications. Self‐contained narrative logic is divided by interstrophic refrains, and chains of thought are divided by destabilising chains of interstrophic enjambment. This setup in the cantigas de miragre is rendered all the more curious given that few comparable instances of cyclical structure and linear narrative occur elsewhere in late‐medieval vernacular repertoire. In essence, concatenating the linear with the circular does not – and perhaps should not – work in narrative song. In this article, I examine how the cantigas de miragre navigate this dichotomy. Parsing the musical, poetic and narrative structures of CSM 232, I demonstrate how the sonically tenacious refrain, recapped within the latter part of each strophe as the strophe‐b, works to highlight the narrative thrust of a miracle story. The memorially marked recurrence of refrain metre, rhymes and melody in the strophe‐b functions as a device to separate the narratively central from the extraneous. It thereby exposes a miracle song's essential message to its audience. Through the analysis of CSM 232, this article highlights the fundamental role of sonic memory in late‐medieval vernacular song. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Music Analysis Wiley

Linear Narratives in Cyclical Form: the Hunt for Reason in the Cantigas de Santa Maria

Music Analysis , Volume 38 (1-2) – Mar 1, 2019

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Publisher
Wiley
Copyright
"Music Analysis © 2019 John Wiley & Sons Ltd"
ISSN
0262-5245
eISSN
1468-2249
DOI
10.1111/musa.12131
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Central to the world of thirteenth‐century Galician‐Portuguese song are the Cantigas de Santa Maria (CSM), on whose narrative cantigas de miragre this article focuses. These songs comprise alternations between a refrain and strophes that finish by reiterating the refrain's metre, rhymes and melody. Combining the strictly linear narrative of the miracle cantiga with this cyclical framework poses manifold complications. Self‐contained narrative logic is divided by interstrophic refrains, and chains of thought are divided by destabilising chains of interstrophic enjambment. This setup in the cantigas de miragre is rendered all the more curious given that few comparable instances of cyclical structure and linear narrative occur elsewhere in late‐medieval vernacular repertoire. In essence, concatenating the linear with the circular does not – and perhaps should not – work in narrative song. In this article, I examine how the cantigas de miragre navigate this dichotomy. Parsing the musical, poetic and narrative structures of CSM 232, I demonstrate how the sonically tenacious refrain, recapped within the latter part of each strophe as the strophe‐b, works to highlight the narrative thrust of a miracle story. The memorially marked recurrence of refrain metre, rhymes and melody in the strophe‐b functions as a device to separate the narratively central from the extraneous. It thereby exposes a miracle song's essential message to its audience. Through the analysis of CSM 232, this article highlights the fundamental role of sonic memory in late‐medieval vernacular song.

Journal

Music AnalysisWiley

Published: Mar 1, 2019

References