Minstrel

Encyclopædia Orbis Latini


A professional entertainer of the 11th to 17th centuries, as opposed to the church musicians. The French minstrels were called jongleurs, while in Germany they were Gaukler and in Britain gleemen. Jongleurs were entertainers, including musicians, who travelled throughout Europe, from the 11th to the 13th centuries. Troubadours were poet-musicians of the South of France (Provence) and adjoining areas of Italy and Spain in the 11th to 13th centuries. Their songs are commonly on the theme of courtly love, and their language was Old Provençal or Langue d'Oc. Many were of noble birth. Trouvères were poet-musicians of northern France, writing in the Langue d'Oil dialect. They were similar to the troubadours, but existed at a slightly later date. Minnesinger were the German equivalent of the troubadours in the 12th to 14th centuries. The word minne means 'courtly love'. Later came the Meistersinger guilds of amateur musicians that flourished during the 15th, 16th, and 17th centuries in Germany as a middle- and lower-class continuation of the aristocratic Minnesinger. Waits were street musicians in medieval England who acted as town watchmen, marking the hours of day by sounding instruments. By the 16th century they had formed themselves into town bands. Some also sang - hence Christmas carollers are also called 'waits'.
 
 

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