minstrel

(redirected from Minstrels)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus.
Related to Minstrels: minstrelsy, minstrel show

minstrel,

professional secular musician of the Middle Ages. The modern application of the term is general and includes the jongleursjongleurs
, itinerant entertainers of the Middle Ages in France and Norman England. Their repertoire included dancing, conjuring, acrobatics, the feats of the modern juggler, singing, and storytelling. Many were skilled in playing musical instruments.
..... Click the link for more information.
. Certain very able jongleurs ceased their wanderings and were attached to a court to play or sing the songs of the troubadourstroubadours
, aristocratic poet-musicians of S France (Provence) who flourished from the end of the 11th cent. through the 13th cent. Many troubadours were noblemen and crusader knights; some were kings, e.g.
..... Click the link for more information.
 or trouvèrestrouvères
, medieval poet-musicians of central and N France, fl. during the later 12th and the 13th cent. The trouvères imitated the troubadours of the south.
..... Click the link for more information.
 who employed them. To these and to some itinerant musicians was applied in the 14th cent. the term ménétrier and later ménestrel, from which the word minstrel is derived, to indicate a higher social class than jongleur. Increasing in number and influence, these minstrels were organized and given protection of the law. Their function was at times similar to that of the Welsh bardbard,
in Wales, term originally used to refer to the order of minstrel-poets who composed and recited the poems that celebrated the feats of Celtic chieftains and warriors. The term bard in present-day usage has become synonymous with poet, particularly a revered poet.
..... Click the link for more information.
.

Bibliography

See E. Duncan, The Story of Minstrelsy (1907, repr. 1969).

Minstrel

 

(1) A professional singer and musician in feudal France and England, sometimes a storyteller and reciter, often both a poet and composer. In the late 12th and the 13th century, with the world of poetry and music centering on the feudal court, minstrels were primarily in the service of a seignior, whom they would accompany in military campaigns. Many trouveres and troubadours were among the court minstrels. From the 14th to the 18th century, folk musicians who lived in towns or strolled around fairs and rural areas were also called minstrels. In the cities fraternities of minstrels were set up. Folk minstrels often circulated political news, participated in many popular movements, and were often persecuted by the authorities and the church. In western European romantic literature the name “minstrel” was given to an idealized image of the medieval poet-singer.

(2) In the metaphorical, poetic sense, a minstrel is a singer or poet (obsolete).

REFERENCE

Chambers, E. K. The Medieval Stage, vol. 1, book 1. Oxford, 1903.

A. I. DROBINSKII

minstrel

1. History a medieval wandering musician who performed songs or recited poetry with instrumental accompaniment
2. a performer in a minstrel show
References in periodicals archive ?
Minstrels as itinerant performers of music are frequently encountered in many societies.
Minstrels pouches 118g, Maltesers Teasers 35g, and Galaxy Counters 112g and 78g have also been recalled.
Since 1987, the North Ormesby Minstrels have been entertaining audiences with their ever popular pantos.
A joint performance of the king's and the queen's minstrels is mentioned in Bristol's records the next year, 1518.
Henry Wood of Wood's Minstrels and The Allegheny City
TABLE 1 Floral and nature metaphors in Smith's Scotish & Irish Minstrels
Ethiopian Delineation', an entr'acte or circus entertainment featuring white actors blacking up to impersonate black people (specifically black Americans), seems to have come to Britain from the United States almost as soon as it emerged there, as did its successor, the musical troupe (Dan Emmett's Virginia Minstrels in the 1840s).
In the early '60s he was known as Dai Francis and on Saturday nights my husband and daughters would be waiting to see the Black and White Minstrel Show with our pop and crisps.
Medievalists have been arguing about minstrels for nearly two and a half centuries.
He later helps two minstrels whose own show has flopped.
I saw a video that showed what minstrels looked like and how white men would make African-Americans so cartoonish and told people not to take them seriously.
White minstrels answered with: "When women's rights is stirred a bit / De first reform she bitches on / Is how she can wid least delay / Just draw a pair ob britches on.