Article

Tropes

Gunilla Iversen

in Medieval Studies

ISBN: 9780195396584
Published online August 2012 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/obo/9780195396584-0054
Tropes

More Like This

Show all results sharing these subjects:

  • Medieval and Renaissance History (500 to 1500)
  • Literary Studies (Early and Medieval)
  • Medieval and Renaissance Philosophy
  • Byzantine and Medieval Art (500 CE to 1400)
  • Anglo-Saxon and Medieval Archaeology

GO

Show Summary Details

Preview

Liturgical poetry, in the form of additional lyrics inserted into all the chants of the medieval Mass, flourished in the 9th through the 12th centuries. In a medieval Latin culture marked by intense interest in hermeneutics, even the Gregorian chants became a field open to extensive use of glosses and added verses performed together with the chant. The authors provided interpretations of the base texts in metaphors, images, or tropes, with the result that the grammatical term “trope” (Greek tropos, in Latin conversio or versus) came to be the name of the genre. Sung between the segments of a chant, the tropes could comment on and meditate over the preceding words of the chant, but they could also prepare for the performance of the words that followed. By means of these insertions, the chantor or compilator could vary the performance of a chant in endless ways while still maintaining the authorized form of the liturgical base chant. Extensive repertories were collected in manuscripts all over Europe. At first written on loose leaves or in the margins, they came to be inscribed into graduals and missals, and then gathered in individual manuscripts labeled “troparium” or “troparium-prosarium.” Because these manuscripts are the earliest witnesses of Western musical notation, or “neumes,” they have attracted many musical scholars as well. The oldest tropes must have been created well before the division of the Carolingian Empire in 843, because they are found in similar form both in East Frankish and West Frankish regions and in Lotharingia. In the following centuries, the repertories came to be divided into more or less separate regional traditions. The repertories are characterized by great variety, and new local versions were constantly created. This regional variety has influenced much of the musical research focusing on local repertories, as seen in the section Regional Repertories, whereas text scholars (see Text Editions and Studies), such as the editors of the series Corpus Troporum (conventionally abbreviated CT) (1975–), attempt to cover all regional variations in their studies and editions. After 1200 the use of tropes gradually disappeared. From the mid-20th century, research on tropes has grown into an extremely lively field. Because research on tropes engages musical as well as textual scholars and specialists in liturgy, theology, and drama, the literature is very rich. Here we have chosen just a small selection of important studies.

Article.  9622 words. 

Subjects: Medieval and Renaissance History (500 to 1500) ; Literary Studies (Early and Medieval) ; Medieval and Renaissance Philosophy ; Byzantine and Medieval Art (500 CE to 1400) ; Anglo-Saxon and Medieval Archaeology

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at Oxford University Press »

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.