The Chaucer Review: An Indexed Bibliography (Vols. 1-30)Return to the Subject List
Boenig, Robert. "Musical Irony in the Pardoner's Tale." 24 (1990): 253-58.
Machaut popularized an antiphonal music style during the early decades of the fourteenth century. In this music the melody line shifts between parts with great frequency and is distinguished by the different instruments playing each part. The musicians in the Pardoner's Tale play "the wrong instruments for a successful performance" (257); thus they foreshadow the lack of cooperation between the three rioters.
Booth, Mark W. "'Sumer Is Icumen in' as a Song." 14 (1979): 158-65.
"Sumer Is Icumen in" cannot be properly evaluated as a text unless scholars view it in the context of performance as a round. The "cuccu" sound repeated throughout the song commemorates and produces the coming summer in a state of "inattentive levity" (163).
Campbell, Thomas P. "Machaut and Chaucer: Ars Nova and the Art of Narrative." 24 (1990): 275-89.
Chaucer's narratives borrow both from Machaut's poetry and his music. The dissonance of conflicting solutions to an enigma, the simultaneity of events, and the nested perspectives found in poems like the Parliament of Fowls and the Knight's, Nun's Priest's, Merchant's, and Reeve's Tales can all be traced to medieval music. Examination of Machaut's ballad "Je Puis Trop Bien" demonstrates corresponding qualities of medieval music, especially the ballad form. Cursory examination of this ballad shows that contrast between music and the poetry joined to it was the mode. Scrutiny of the Miller's Tale shows that it uses all the musical techniques found in Machaut's ballad to maintain its unity.
Chamberlain, David S. "The Music of the Spheres and the Parlement of Foules." 5 (1970): 32-56.
In the Parliament of Fowls, Chaucer uses the four species of medieval music to draw attention to the eagles and suggests that the spheres create most of the music, including the "form . . . meter, stanza, and length," of the poem (33). The discussion of the spheres and Nature's way of joining disparate elements suggests musica mundana. Musica humana is less noticeable because Chaucer did not believe in open display. In discussing human music, Chaucer changes his source to emphasize that harmony in world music results from love. He also discusses the three aspects of human music though in different terms from Boethius. Chaucer also uses the three kinds of instrumental music in the roundel which the birds sing, the women's dancing in Venus's temple, and his poetry itself. Chaucer then refers to divina musica in his image of the wood. The spheres are the cause of both "sonorous" and "non-sonorous" music. In the poem, the form and rhyme of the stanzas, which reproduce the sonorous music of the spheres, suggest that the poem is missing a final line that would complete the complex stanzaic form and rhyme scheme. The wind in the wood demonstrates the sonorous music of the spheres as the seasons show non-sonorous music. Finally, readers can explicate the poem in terms of a pattern of three and seven which reinforces the musical patterning of the Parliament of Fowls.