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1. any of a class of lyric poets who flourished principally in Provence and N Italy from the 11th to the 13th centuries, writing chiefly on courtly love in complex metric form
2. a singer
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



a medieval Provençal poet-singer and songwriter; the troubadours flourished from the 11th to 13th centuries in southern France. About 500 troubadours are known, most of them knights or feudal lords, such as William IX, duke of Aquitaine. A few, however, were from the townspeople, for example, Folquet of Marseille, a merchant’s son, and Peire Vidal, the son of a furrier.

The poetry of the troubadours celebrated the joy of life and generally concerned the cult of the “fair lady, ” courtly love, or military exploits (many troubadours, such as William IX, count of Poitiers, had fought in the Crusades). Social and political themes may also be found, as in the work of Bertrán de Born. The lyrics of the troubadours are distinguished by their refinement, complexity of verse form, and musicality; they influenced the trouvères and the German minnesingers. A troubadour often performed with a minstrel, who accompanied him on a musical instrument.

G. Verdi’s opera Il Trovatore is based on the drama of the same name by A. Garcia Gutierrez. H. Heine, E. Rostand, L. Aragon, and T. S. Eliot were all influenced by the poetry of the troubadours, and themes from troubadour poetry appear in A. Blok’s The Rose and the Cross (1913). Many of the troubadours’ compositions have been published in the collection The Musical Heritage of the Troubadours. (See alsoPROVENÇAL LITERATURE.)


Ivanov, K. A. Trubadury, truvery i minnezingery, 2nd ed. Petrograd, 1915.
Istoriia frantsuzskoi literatury, vol. 1. Moscow-Leningrad, 1946. Pages 80–93.
Lommatzsch, E. Leben und Lieder der provenzalischen Troubadours, vols. 1–2. Berlin, 1957–59.
Gennrich, F. Der musicalische Nachlass der Troubadours, vols. 1–2. Darmstadt, 1958–60.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Accordingly, the first redaction of the Leys d'Amors invites the aspiring poet to overlook his lack of Latin learning (letras) and to concentrate on reading every day, 'recollecting, reciting and memorizing [decoran]' these vernacular rules as a way of acquiring 'lo bel lengatge dels trobadors' (Gatien-Arnoult, iv, 294).
Snodgrass translations as a pretext, Carruth makes a plaidoyer for the substitution of the word Occitan for Provencal, especially when referring to the language of the trobadors (not troubadors).
The Old Provencal phrase gai saber ("gay knowledge" or "gay science") is associated with the Consistori del Gai Saber, originally the Sobregaya compannia dels VII Trobadors de Tolosa ("Very Gay Company of the Seven Troubadours of Toulouse"), a group of seven citizens of Toulouse who in 1323 organized yearly competitions to encourage troubadour poetry, by then in serious decline.
(22) Two examples, chosen at random, would include the recordings of troubadour songs by Gerard Zuchetto, active in France, and the recordings of a similar repertory by the Catalan ensemble Els Trobadors. (24) This is the performance of Kalenda maya by Raimbaut de Vaquieras, originally issued on French court music of the thirteenth century (Delyse DS 3201) and released in 1968.
Sinal da crise: o ultimo grande trovador occitanico, Guiraut Riquier, em 1274 ou 1275 (ou seja, nos anos da infancia e dos estudos de Dante, anos do primeiro encontro com Beatrice), envia documento a Alfonso X de Castela pedindo ao rei que diferencie entre "joglars" e "trobadors'.
Cantigas d'escarneo son aquelas que os trobadores fazen querendo dizer mal d'alguen<n>en elas, e dizen-lho per palavras cubertas que ajan dous entendimentos pera lhe-lo non entenderen ligeiramente: e estas palavras chamas os clerigos hequivocatio.