Textual-musical integration in representative 12th-century Aquitanian versus suggests that poetic and musical language were shaped not independently but rather in conjunction, inspired by the same rhetorical principles. The versus Resonemus hoc natali (Paris, Bibliothèèque nationale fonds latin 1139, fol. 50v) and De monte lapis scinditur (London, British Library, Additional Manuscript 36881, fol. 19v), both underexplored in the musicological literature, centrally treat the Biblically inspired topos of Daniel's mountain as a metaphor for Mary's virginity. Witnessing opposite ends of the versus manuscript chronology, these compositions together offer two discrete snapshots of active and shifting approaches to textual-musical expression in veneration of the Virgin.
Stylistic contrasts between the versus parallel a two-pronged path described by English rhetorician Geoffrey de Vinsauf in his influential treatise Poetria nova (ca. 1210). In particular, Geoffrey's notions of the natural and artistic paths furnish interpretive tools for understanding both poetic and musical discourse. While the earlier Resonemus hoc natali takes a linear path that emphasizes narrative structure, the later De monte lapis travels a more circuitous route of permutation and reconstitution, evoking artifice rather than nature. As poetic texts demanded, or conformed to, new rhetorical strategies, music did likewise, and according to similar rhetorical ideals.
- Aquitanian versus
- Geoffrey de Vinsauf
- Resonemus hoc natali
- De monte lapis
- devotion to the Virgin Mary
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