Female-Voice Song and Women’s Musical Agency in the Middle Ages


Volume Editors: and
This collection of seventeen essays newly identifies contributions to musical culture made by women before 1500 across Europe. You will learn about repertoire from such diverse locations as Iceland, Spain, and Italy, and encounter examples of musicianship from the gender-fluid professional musicians at the Islamicate courts of Syria to the nuns of Barking Abbey in England.
The book shows that women drove musical patronage, dissemination, composition, and performance, including within secular and ecclesiastical contexts, and also reflects on the reception of medieval women’s musical agency by both medieval poets and by modern recording artists.
Contributors are David Catalunya, Lisa Colton, Helen Dell, Annemari Ferreira, Rachel Golden, Gillian L. Gower, Anna Kathryn Grau, Carissa M. Harris, Louise McInnes, Lisa Nielson, Lauren Purcell-Joiner, Megan Quinlan, Leah Stuttard, Claire Taylor Jones, Melissa Tu, Angelica Vomera, and Anne Bagnall Yardley.

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Anna Kathryn Grau is lecturer and Music & Performing Art Librarian at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Her published work includes research on gendered voices within Old French motets, it has appeared in Gender & Voice in Medieval French Literature and Song (ed. Katherine Kong and Rachel Golden, University Press of Florida, 2021).

Lisa Colton is Professor of Musicology at the University of Huddersfield. Her publications include Angel Song: Medieval English Music in History (Routledge, 2017) and the co-edited book Music and Liturgy in Medieval Britain and Ireland (Cambridge University Press, 2022).
List of Figures, Tables and Music Examples
Notes on Contributors

Introduction: Female Authorship, Female Voice, and Female-Voice Song
Anna Kathryn Grau and Lisa Colton

PART 1: Ritual Discourse

1 The Feminine Voice in the Early Islamicate Courts (661–1000)
Lisa Nielson
2 Music, Liturgy, and the Discursive Construction of Gender in a Thirteenth-Century Double Monastery
Lauren Purcell-Joiner
3 A Female-Voice Ceremonial from Medieval Castile
David Catalunya
4 Religious Reform and Liturgical Change in the Fifteenth Century: Chant as Women’s Protest Music
Claire Taylor Jones

PART 2: Materiality

5 Beyond this Mist: Uncovering Material Multiplicities in Amis, amis
Rachel May Golden
6 Transmission of Female-Voice Motets in Late Thirteenth-Century Manuscripts
Anna Kathryn Grau
7 Chants for the Holy Trinity of Barking Abbey: Ethelburg, Hildelith, and Wulfhild
Anne Bagnall Yardley

PART 3: Subjectivity and Emotion

8 Handmade Women: The Manufacture of Femininity in the Chansons de femme
Helen Dell
9 The Voice of Emotion: Constructing an Identity for the Comtessa de Dia in Performance
Leah Stuttard
10 “Going all the Way with Marot”: Empowerment in the Pastourelle Motet L’autrier m’esbatoie/Demenant grant joie/ MANERE
Lisa Colton
11 Sexuality, Pedagogy, and Women’s Emotions in Middle English Songs
Carissa M. Harris
12 “Who cannot wepe come lerne at me”: Voicing Refrains in Late Medieval Passion Lyric
Melissa Tu

PART 4: Representation

13 A Song from the Mound: The Female Voice as a Repository for Genealogical Knowledge in Hyndluljóð
Annemari Ferreira
14 Eye, Mouth, and Heart: The Female-Voiced Contrafacta of Can vei la lauzeta mover
Meghan Quinlan
15 A Musical Letter from Eleanor of Provence to Margaret of Scotland: Patronage as Authorship in the Sequence Ex te lux oritur
Gillian L. Gower
16 Female Voice in the Trecento Song
Angelica Vomera
17 Saints and Sinners: The Representation of Women in Late-Medieval English Carols
Louise McInnes

Academic libraries and postgraduate students of music (especially medieval and early modern music), medieval literature, manuscript studies, history (especially the history of women, history of gender, and history of sexuality).
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