Winter Course at Montpelier

| February 17 – 24, 2018

Diz en son latin: Recovering the Oldest Songs in Occitan/Catalan

Medieval music course

Presented by the CIMM Centre International de Musiques Médiévales—Université Paul Valéry de Montpellier in connection with the International Course on Medieval Music Performance of Besalú

Dr. Mauricio Molina, Cristina Alís Raurich, Lorena García

Vernacular languages started to emerge as vehicles of artistic expression during the eleventh and twelfth centuries. Their advent reflects the economic and political consolidation of a secular culture and the importance of courtly ideas within the so-called 12th-century Renaissance. Among vernacular languages Occitan holds a primary position in the history of poetry and song since it was used by the troubadours of Southern France and Catalonia for the development of one of the most exquisite and influential poetic-musical traditions of Western Europe. But before the troubadours, Occitan was already used in song since the at least the 10th century. This is revealed by compositions in a macaronic Latin-Occitan/Catalan or in proto Occitan/Catalan that are included in Benedictine sources related to monasteries such as Saint-Guilhem-le-Désert, Saint Martial de Limoges, Sainte-Foy de Conques, and Sant Miquel de Cuixà. While some of these songs are accompanied by music notation (complete or fragmentary), others lack any indication of melody waiting to be reconstructed by musicologist and performers.

The purpose of this course is to recover and prepare for performance these “lost” songs in Occitan/Catalan. Their recovery will be conducted by studying the original sources and the poetic, rhetorical, and musical style of the period. The few pieces without melody will be reconstructed utilizing melodic formulas and contrafactum (the use of a melody from another piece that shares the same poetic structure). A recreation of songs’ performance will be done following historical vocal technique, the proper pronunciation of the language, and the rhetorical procedures of the period. An instrumental accompaniment will be realized utilizing period instruments such as the portative organ, the vielle, the citole, and frame drums, and bells. Accompaniment techniques will be developed following information found in medieval literary and iconographic sources, and theories advance by musicologists.

Course Fees



Alumni and students from the International Course on
Medieval Music Besalú


Montpellier University Students*


University Credits

Only for students registered at the Université Paul-Valéry - Montpellier 3

Licence 1 et 2


Licence 3


Master 1 et 2



*Musicology students and other students registered at the Université Paul-Valéry – Montpellier 3

View program information and register »

Privacy Preference Center


Cookies that are necessary for the site to function properly.



These are used to track user interaction and detect potential problems. These help us improve our services by providing analytical data on how users use this site.

_ga, _gid, _gat

Close your account?

Your account will be closed and all data will be permanently deleted and cannot be recovered. Are you sure?