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Love Songs of the Medieval World: Lyrics from Europe and Asia

Love was a very popular subject for songwriters across the medieval world, as it is today! This collection preserves lyrics on the topic of love from the Western European "courtly love" tradition, the Chinese genre of ci, and the Japanese genre of waka.

While many song lyrics survive, most often the musical notation—the melodies—have been lost. Exceptions in this collection include the songs published by Erhard Oeglin, who was a pioneer in European printing and who is responsible for creating many "part books": books which contain the notation for different voices so that they can be sung in harmony by a group of singers. The late medieval French songs in this collection, such as "Two or three days ago", are also written for multiple voices singing in harmony. By contrast, the Chinese song lyrics, also known as "ci", would have been performed by solo female singers. These were most often composed by male writers, but this collection will also include songs by Li Qingzhao, a celebrated female songwriter of the Northern Song Dynasty.