Guillaume de Machaut

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Guillaume de Machaut:

see Machaut, Guillaume deMachaut, Guillaume de
, c.1300–1377, French poet and composer. Variants of his name include Machault, de Machaudio, and de Mascaudio. He studied theology and took holy orders. In the service of King John of Bohemia he traveled through Europe on chivalric expeditions.
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Machaut, Guillaume de

(gēyōm` də mäshō`), c.1300–1377, French poet and composer. Variants of his name include Machault, de Machaudio, and de Mascaudio. He studied theology and took holy orders. In the service of King John of Bohemia he traveled through Europe on chivalric expeditions. Later, while in the service of King Charles of Navarre, he wrote the long narrative poems Confort d'ami and Le Jugement du roi de Navarre. The recipient of numerous papal benefices, Machaut was canon at Reims from 1340 until his death. In Le Livre du voir dit (1361–65) he wrote a long poem of courtly love with musical interpolations. Considered the greatest French musician of the 14th cent. and the exponent of ars nova style in France, he wrote lais, motets, ballads, rondeaux, virelais, and one mass. He contributed to the secularization of the motet by using French texts of courtly love instead of Latin liturgy. Most important perhaps was his skillful use of rhythm with counterpoint, which made his music widely known and admired. His mass, the first complete polyphonic version, was still in use in the 16th cent. and led to the great masses of Josquin DesprezJosquin Desprez or Des Prés
, c.1440–1521, Flemish composer, b. Hainaut, regarded by his contemporaries as the greatest of his age. Luther spoke highly of Desprez, who may have instructed Erasmus in music.
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 and PalestrinaPalestrina, Giovanni Pierluigi da
, c.1525–1594, Italian composer whose family name was Pierluigi; b. Palestrina, from which he took his name. Palestrina represents with Lasso the culmination of Renaissance music.
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Bibliography

See analytical biography by E. E. Leach (2011).

Guillaume de Machaut

 

(also known by the Latin name Guillelmus de Mascandio). Born circa 1300 in Machaut, Ardennes; died 1377. French poet and composer.

Guillaume de Machaut founded a school of rhetoric and canonized poetic forms for 14th-century French poetry. His poetic works are linked to the growth of urban culture and Scholasticism. His best work is A Book About Something That Really Happened (1365), a novel in verse with inserted prose letters about the love of an elderly poet for a young girl. His other works include the narrative poem The Court of the King of Navarre (1349), the rhymed chronicle The Seizure of Alexandria (c. 1370), and the narrative poem Pastoral Times, which contains a description of 14th-century musical instruments. Guillaume de Machaut was a representative of Ars nova (new art), a progressive trend in early Renaissance music. He composed church music (motets, the first mass in the history of music) and created numerous songs (virelays, ballades, rondos) with instrumental accompaniments that combined the musical poetic tradition of the trouvères with the new polyphonic art.

WORKS

Oeuvres, vols. 1-3. Paris, 1908-21.
Poésies lyriques, vols. 1-2. Published by V. Chichmarev. Paris [1909].

REFERENCES

Shishmarev, V. F. Lirika i liriki pozdnego srednevekov’ia. Paris, 1911.
Istoriia frantsuzskoi literatury, vol. 1. Moscow-Leningrad, 1946. Pages 170, 172-76, 179.
Prioult, A. “Un Poète voyageur Guillaume de Machaut et la ‘Reise’ de Jean l’Aveugle roi de Bohême, en 1328-29.” Les Lettres romanes, 1950, vol. 4. Pages 3-39.
Machabey, A. Guillaume de Machaut, vols. 1-2. Paris, 1955.

I. A. LILEEVA