chapter  11
47 Pages

A New Voice in the Monastery: Tropes and Versus from Eleventh-and Twelfth-Century Aquitaine

WithJames Grier

The two genres under discussion typify a remarkable shift in the form that devotional expression assumed in Aquitanian monastic communities. In the eleventh century, tropes for the Proper of the Mass were the preferred sacred form of expression, but by 1100 the uersus had taken the place of the trope. There is strong manuscript evidence that attests to the date when the shift from Proper trope to uersus took place. One external factor that might have affected the decline in popularity in tropes of the Proper of the Mass is the spread of Cluny's influence in Aquitaine in the last third or so of the eleventh century. Aquitaine had nothing, in the twelfth century, to compare with the burgeoning institutions in Paris, Chartres, Reims, and Laon. It looks to the Aquitanian monastic communities as the provenance of this repertory. The repertory of uersus from twelfth-century Aquitaine includes a good number of pieces with secular texts.