TECLA EDITIONS


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  Clothbound
Price 21,00 euros / or 14.60 UK pounds / or 29.00 US dollars
ISBN 978-0-9502241-2-1 / TECLA 0055

Bele Buche e Bele Parleure  Paperbound
Price 15,00 euros / or 10.40 UK pounds / or 21.00 US dollars
ISBN 978-0-9502241-3-8 / TECLA 0056

Bele Buche e Bele Parleure  Accompanying cassette
Price 12,00 euros / or 8.40 UK pounds / or 17.00 US dollars
ISBN 978-0-948607-49-3 / TECLA 0057

"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):
Carles li reis, nostre emperere magnes,
Set anz tuz pleins ad estét en Espaigne...
Norman, early 12th century. Spoken.

Avez point veu la Perronelle (spoken) (mp3 track)
A strophic song whose words and music are both anonymous. About 1490.

Avez point veu la Perronelle (sung) (mp3 track)

FOR MORE ABOUT THIS BOOK AND ITS ACCOMPANYING CASSETTE, SEE BELOW.

To order this item, you can use the easy PayPal buttons below if you wish.  The low-cost shipping on this PayPal cart includes Priority airmail shipping to you worldwide.  If you have a PayPal account (easy, worldwide, and free), you can choose whether to pay in euros or pounds or dollars worldwide.

Bele Buche e Bele Parleure  Clothbound  TECLA 0055:

Pay in euros:
21.00 euros

or pay in UK pounds:
14.60 UK pounds

or pay in US dollars:
29.00 US dollars

Bele Buche e Bele Parleure  Paperbound  TECLA 0056:

Pay in euros:
15,00 euros

or pay in UK pounds:
10.40 UK pounds

or pay in US dollars:
21.00 US dollars

Bele Buche e Bele Parleure  Accompanying cassette  TECLA 0057:

Pay in euros:
12,00 euros

or pay in UK pounds:
8.40 UK pounds

or pay in US dollars:
17.00 US dollars

Or you can order it from most music shops and dealers worldwide.  It depends which you feel more comfortable with. 

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.

The twelve examples in the book and on the cassette are as follows.

1) La Chanson de Roland. The opening lines; the death of Roland; parts of Charlemagne's lament on the death of Roland. Norman, early 12th century.
Carles li reis, nostre emperere magnes,
Set anz tuz pleins ad estét en Espaigne…
Spoken.

2) Be m'an perdut lai enves Ventadorn
A song with words and music by the troubadour Bernard de Ventadorn. Provençal, about 1180.
Spoken, and then parts sung.

3) Part of a tavern scene from the miracle play Le Jeu de Saint Nicolas by Jean Bodel. Picard, about 1200.
Or bevons plus, si parlons mains (Let's drink more and talk less…)
Spoken.

4) On parole de batre et de vanner
An anonymous motet about having a good time in Paris. Francien, about 1260.
Spoken.

5) Dieus soit en cheste maison
A Christmas song with words and music by Adam de la Hale. Francien/Picard, about 1280.
Spoken and then sung.

6) Amours, et ma dame aussi
A rondeau with words and music by Adam de la Hale. Francien/Picard, about 1280.
Spoken.

7) Plus dure qu'un dyamant
A virelai with words and music by Guillaume de Machaut. About 1350.
Spoken and then the first section sung.

8) Je ne suis plus telx que soloye
An anonymous rondeau which was set to music by Dufay. About 1430.
Spoken.

9) Avez point veu la Perronelle
A strophic song whose words and music are both anonymous. About 1490.
Spoken and then sung.

10) Nous sommes de l'ordre de Saint Babouin
A strophic song whose words are anonymous and which was set to music by Compère. About 1500.
Spoken and then the first stanza sung.

11) La nuyt froyde et sombre
Two stanzas of an ode by Du Bellay, which were set to music by Lassus.  1549.  Spoken and then sung.
La nuyt froyde et sombre
Couvrant d'obscure ombre
La terre et les cieux,
Aussi doulx que miel
Fait couler du ciel
Le someil aux yeux.

12) Amour et Mars sont presque d'une sorte
A sonnet by Ronsard. 1560.
Spoken.


Mp3 tracks, see below.

Songs from Tecla

Tecla home page. 

Copyright 2003 by Tecla Editions. Errors and omissions excepted.