The music of Paris, BN fonds fr. 146 has long held a special place in medieval musicology as one of the most abundant records of musical taste and style in the early decades of the 14th century, particularly so in its famous version of the Old French satire of the Roman de Fauvel, interpolated with no less than 169 musical items. In the last decade, however, perspective on the manuscript has radically altered in a new climate of interdisciplinary research. If there was once a tendency for scholars to extrapolate information from the manuscript, to allow its abundant visual, musical, literary and political texts to speak of cultures exterior to the book's bindings, recent collaborative approaches have focused attention on how those different media work together within the boundaries of the parchment. One consequence of such an approach is to raise new questions about music's role in the book, most particularly about its relationship to the narrative into which it is cast. This study explores perhaps the most startling and perplexing aspect of music's position in Fauvel: the numerous occasions where music is uncued and unprepared in the narrative. I focus on the most famous moment of narrative disjunction brought about by the presence of song: the interpolated bifolio, 28 bis and ter, containing the lai Pour recouvrer alegiance. Long viewed by musicologists as an ill-conceived afterthought, it is suggested that the song's intrusion (narrative and bibliographic) may be interpreted poetically, as a moment of lyric suspension engineered by its singer, Fauvel, in der to defer his lady's final, deadly refusal of his marriage suit. That deferral occurs not just in an abstract moment of lyrical time, but in the real, unfurling space of the parchment: As time passes (the reader turning the folios), Fortuna's impatience finally becomes palpable as she dramatically enters the landscape of the song in its closing moments. Song may thus be understood to occupy not only time but also space; the manuscript, it is argued, is witness to a new form of music-making in France at the turn of the 14th century, music-making that is material as well as sonic.
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