Jeannine Alton and Brian Jeffery: Bele Buche e Bele Parleure
A guide to the pronunciation of medieval and Renaissance French, for singers and others.
This book is a manual on how to speak or sing medieval and Renaissance French as authentically as possible. Singers will find it valuable, and so will actors.
79 pages. First published by Tecla in 1976. 8 x 5 inches.
Bele Buche e Bele Parleure
Bele Buche e Bele Parleure
Bele Buche e Bele Parleure Accompanying cassette
"Old Occitan [the language of the troubadours], with its crisp consonants and rolled r's, is a fine language for singing, and singers who wish to learn it can get excellent help from Bele buche e bele parleure by B. Jeffery and J. Alton (London, 1976), a singers' guide to early forms of French and Old Occitan. The usefulness of the book is greatly increased if you buy the accompanying cassette; there you will find Be m'an perdut lai enves Ventadorn - a song by one of the most famous trobadors, Bernart de Ventadorn - read in full" (Christopher Page on the troubadours)
"I'm sure my student will benefit from it. I know I got a great deal of good from my book and tape." (from someone who bought this book and tape)
The cassette contains twelve medieval and Renaissance French examples spoken, and six also sung, with the pronunciation of their own time, some with an ensemble of singers and instrumentalists (details at the foot of this page). Listen to some free mp3 tracks, taken from the cassette:
La Chanson de Roland,
the opening lines (mp3 track):
Avez point veu la
Perronelle (spoken) (mp3 track)
FOR MORE ABOUT THIS BOOK AND ITS ACCOMPANYING CASSETTE, SEE BELOW.
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Bele Buche e Bele Parleure Clothbound TECLA 0055:
Bele Buche e Bele Parleure PaperboundTECLA 0056:
Bele Buche e Bele Parleure Accompanying cassette TECLA 0057:
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MORE ABOUT THIS BOOK
First the pronunciation of French vowels and consonants from 1100 to 1600 is set out. Provencal is included. Then the same information is given in the form of a chart so that for any given text, the state of French pronunciation at that time can be seen at a glance. A 35-minute cassette is available (TECLA 0057) on which twelve medieval and Renaissance French examples are spoken, and six also sung, with pronunciation of their own time. The examples include an extract from the Chanson de Roland, a poem by Bernard de Ventadorn, a scene from the Jeu de Saint Nicolas by Jean Bodel, and poems by Adam de la Hale, Machaut, Ronsard, and Du Bellay.
No attempt of this kind can be more than an approximation. There is no reason to doubt that there were many differences in pronunciation from one place (even one village) to another, from one class to another, and from one period to another (perhaps very short periods). However, it is a useful starting point for singers and others who need to have something on which to base their decisions about how they are going to pronounce their texts. The book is more than twenty years old now, but is still useful. Jeannine Alton taught in the Faculty of Modern Languages at Oxford, and Brian Jeffery in the Department of French at St. Andrews and UC Berkeley. There is also a 35-minute cassette on which twelve examples are spoken with the pronunciation of their time, and six of them are also sung.
THE EXAMPLES IN THE BOOK AND ON THE CASSETTE
The book and the cassette include twelve examples from between 1100 and 1600. There are extracts from an epic and a play, while the rest are poems which were set to music in their own time. These have been chosen because their musical settings are all readily available in modern editions.
Each poem or extract is accompanied in the book by a modern English version, and by explanatory notes on the content, language, metre, and music.
The cassette includes all twelve examples spoken with the original pronunciation, and also six of them sung in musical settings of their period.
The performers on the cassette are the reader Derek Coltman, and
the singers Richard Apley and Anthony Bremner countertenors, Brian
Burrows and Charles Corp tenors, and Anthony Ransome baritone. The
instrumentalists are June Baines tenor viol, Michael Laird cornett,
Roger Brenner alto sackbut and Peter Harvey bass sackbut.
6) Amours, et ma dame aussi
Mp3 tracks, see below.
Copyright 2003 by Tecla Editions. Errors and omissions excepted.