On the Association of Music and Lyrics in Sung Verse
For the anisosyllabic whim of the Romance Middle Ages: Disciplines and non-regularity in the lyric poetry
Calling to mind Popper’s rough sentence (1983:5)1 the word ‘disciplines’ in the heading signifies only the ‘system of rules’ or, at least, a ‘classifying practice’. This paper will focus on current methods and possibilities to rationalise the phenomena of syllabic irregularity,2 on the consistency of our processes meant to discipline formal asymmetries, in particular for the sung verse. In this context we will concentrate on a subsection of the Old French lyric corpus, characterised by the anisosyllabism that we may define lyric, i.e. the one that can be found in multistrophic poems where corresponding lines, supposedly isosyllabic, are in hypo- or hypermetrical deviation. In addition, an authorial intention causing this anisostrophism should be demonstrated. Our point of view will try to be merely ecdotic: we will deliberately encourage an excessive rigour and a strict probatory praxis in order to avoid any confusion between elements involved in the downward time direction (copy, performance) and elements concerning the opposite one, referred to the logic reconstruction of texts.
First of all, problems lay on definitions. It is hard to find a homogeneity, without renouncing the accuracy, of pan-Romance definitions and this hesitation reveals that the inductive care has not reached sufficient margins of analytic (i.e. descriptive) completeness yet, thus hindering the possibility of establishing solid definitions that may serve as a starting point to deductive actions. But here is the question: with regard to anisosyllabism, are inductive processes legitimate and scientifically correct? Does the possibility of...
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