Raimbaut de Vaqueiras

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Raimbaut de Vaqueiras

c. 1150–1207


A Prolific Troubadour-Adventurer.

Raimbaut de Vaqueiras (c. 1150–1207) was a troubadour, poet, and composer. Like many of the people associated with early dance, he did not devote his entire career to this interest, but rather was a member of the court who served a variety of personal, literary, and educational functions. Indeed, his life was primarily one of military and diplomatic service. According to his thirteenth-century biography, he was born the son of a poor knight in Provence, near the castle of Vaqueiras. He entered into the service of the Marquis of Monferrat in northern Italy and became a companion at arms to his son Boniface, remaining there until 1180. In 1189, he moved to Provence in the service of Hugues I des Baux, and in 1192 returned to Monferrat. During a military campaign in 1194, Raimbaut saved Boniface's life and was rewarded with a knighthood. In 1202, when Boniface became the leader of the Fourth Crusade and set off from Venice for the Holy Land, Raimbaut at first returned to Provence, but later rejoined his patron and the crusade in Constantinople. Boniface was killed near Messiople on 1207, and it is probable that Raimbaut died at that time.

Contribution to Music and Dance.

Raimbaut was fluent in several languages, including Occitan (a medieval language spoken in what is now southern France), Italian, French, Gascon (a dialect of French), and Galician-Portuguese. Scholars attribute 26 poems to Raimbaut, although only seven survive with music. The best known of his works is the estampie "Kalenda Maya," which he composed in honor of Beatrix, daughter of Boniface, to fit a melody that he had heard played on the vielle by two French jongleurs.


Elizabeth Aubrey, The Music of the Troubadours (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1996): 14–15.