Lai (poetic form)  

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Image:Lai d' Aristote.jpg
Aristotle and Phyllis, c. 1485, from the medieval legend Lai d' Aristote, illustrated by the Master of the Housebook

"The "Chanson de Roland, " which I have ventured to translate, is the outcome of ruder lays which have perished. It was composed, according to all probability, about the end of the eleventh or the beginning of the twelfth century. Its hero is Roland, the Christian Achilles."Song of Roland, John O'Hagan translation

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A lai was a song form composed in northern Europe, mainly France and Germany, from the 13th to the late 14th century.

The poetic form of the lai usually has several stanzas, none of which have the same form. As a result, the accompanying music consists of sections which do not repeat. This distinguishes the lai from other common types of musically important verse of the period (for example, the rondeau and the ballade). Towards the end of its development in the 14th century, some lais repeat stanzas, but usually only in the longer examples. There is one very late example of a lai, written to mourn the defeat of the French at the Battle of Agincourt (1415), (Lay de la guerre, by Pierre de Nesson) but no music for it survives.

There are four lais in the Roman de Fauvel, all of them anonymous. The lai reached its highest level of development as a musical and poetic form in the work of Guillaume de Machaut; 19 separate lais by this 14th-century ars nova composer survive, and they are among his most sophisticated and highly-developed secular compositions.

Other terms for the lai, or for forms which were very similar to the lai, include descort (Provençal), Leich (German), and Lay (English).

Composers of lais

See also




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Lai (poetic form)" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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