Apologia (Implies not admission of guilt or regret but a desire to make clear the grounds for some belief or position.)
The field of academic studies on the troubadours is contentious, replete with competing theories on the origins and meaning of the “courtly love” of the troubadours. The Gypsy Scholar’s research here is basically one of sorting through the various theories in order to present a relatively comprehensive picture of what the troubadours are all about for his radio audience.
I must admit, in full disclosure, that I can’t claim any originality here in what I present in these musical essays, having basically relied on the so-called “secondary sources,” i.e., the research of experts in the field of medieval Occitan studies (who are equipped to translate from the Provençal dialect), whether or not these authorities are academics. (I should point out that although I was trained in the discipline of literature, medieval French literature was not my main academic study. It was rather English Romantic literature, which, appropriately enough, as we shall see in an upcoming musical essay, has a lot to do with the modern academic interest in the troubadours.) Thus, what listeners will be hearing are not my own original theories. That said, I should also point out that I’ve been guided by my own intuitions on the subject and, in looking for confirmation, I have gravitated toward theories that are in line with my own amateur perceptions, which are, for the most part, based upon a dissatisfaction with the more standard and conventional theories about the troubadours and their concept of love—amor or fin’amor. Initially, the criterion for this dissatisfaction wasn’t because of any informed opposition. These just went against my Sixties countercultural sensibilities, which I felt justified in using as a guideline for the various theories on the origin and meaning of the troubadour phenomenon, since it was my deep intuition that the Sixties counterculture and its music was a twentieth-century resurgence of the troubadour twelfth-century counterculture.
Therefore, what listeners will be hearing are my own appropriations of the theories of those authorities I most rely upon to present the results of my research. This is to say that what listeners will be presented with comes from my own intellectual predisposition; in other words, while the theories on the origins and meaning of troubadour fin’amor are taken from experts in the field, I combine some of them in such a way as to put my on “spin” on them. Any originality (if that’s the proper term) that I might possibly claim is only in the way I put the various facts and theories together or, on another level, the way I weave these into popular songs of the day in order to demonstrate my own sense of the legacy of troubadour themes and tropes in these contemporary love songs. (I should add that it is just here that I do feel a certain level of originality, since, when I started this inquiry into the origins of Sixties and post-Sixties love song, I had never read any popular music critic refer to this legacy, other than in a purely nominal sense of calling certain Sixties folk- and folk-rock musicians “troubadours.” It was much later in my self-oriented research into why they were called such that I discovered one or two rock music critics confirming my convictions about this troubadour legacy.
As with all our religious, quasi-religious, and secular holidays here in America, the Gypsy Scholar’s predilection is to go beyond their habitual superficiality and commercialization and look for a deeper meaning and significance. This is also the case with Valentine’s Day, a holiday that was originally a Catholic holy day; “Saint Valentine’s Day” or the “Feast of Saint Valentine,” celebrated annually on February 14. It originated as a Western Christian feast day honoring one or two early saints named Valentinus. In many parts of the world today, Valentine’s Day is recognized as a significant religious and cultural celebration of romance and romantic love. However, in America, where, for the most part, the religious nature of the holiday is ignored and a purely secular and highly commercialized Valentine’s Day is the norm, it’s a lot more difficult to find a deeper meaning other than the saccharine hearts-and-flowers ambiance with which we’re so familiar; a day that seems merely a commercial excuse to perpetuate the most sentimentalized aspects of “romantic love.” Indeed, it seems to some a rather inconsequential, even silly, kind of holiday when, in the midst of what everybody knows as a looming national crisis (to quote a line from a Leonard Cohen song), “Everybody talking to their pockets / Everybody wants a box of chocolates / And a long-stemmed rose / And everybody knows.” Nevertheless, risking being labeled an incurable romantic, I will attempt to see if there is anything of real substance to be found in our contemporary hearts-and-flowers Valentine’s Day.
However, a word of caution is in order here. Just in case it be assumed that the Gypsy Scholar will follow the custom of DJs on commercial radio stations playing sappy love songs to get couples in the appropriate hearts-and-flowers mood fit for exchanging greeting cards, let me assure my audience that this Valentine’s Day program will not—to repeat—, will not be one of these! No, as is my custom for programs dedicated to our American holidays, I will take the approach of looking behind our secular and commercialized Valentine’s Day and to go back—“way, way back”—to trace its origins in order to tease out a deeper meaning that touches some forgotten but authentic amorous nerve. (I’m obliged to explain at this point that we basically get our term “romantic love” from nineteenth-century French scholarship on the troubadours and their chivalrous conception of “courtly love.” Once again, the term “amour courtois” was first popularized by Gaston Paris and roughly translated as “romantic love,” even though the troubadour conception vastly differed from the modern one; most notably in the fact that “courtly love” was an illicit love outside of the Church’s sacrament of marriage, whereas our modern version of “romantic love” is supposed to lead to marriage—and persist all through the married relationship.
In the first musical essay, then, I will attempt the slip this Valentine’s Day program between programs for sappy sentimentalists on one side, who narcissistically indulge in fairy-tale notions of love, and programs for the cynical realists on the other, who pride themselves on seeing so-called “romantic love” as nothing but an illusion, reducing it to the sublimation of the animal instinct of sex, a brain chemical, or simply the function of commercialized romance. Admittedly, it might be near impossible to not buy into the oversentimentality, replete with chubby little cherubs, that is part and parcel of American Valentine’s Day—a regular massacre of true love (fin’amor) of capitalistic proportions! Not to be deterred by any of this, I will do my best to avoid such by taking a historical, literary, and folklorist perspective on the history of Valentine’s Day, with the goal of discovering a more meaningful concept of romantic love than the commercialized holiday allows; a lover’s holiday hyped up by the entertainment industry by way of its pop love songs and run-of-the-mill romantic comedies. In other words, I will attempt to reveal a message about romantic love—in all its glory and agony (in the imaginations of nineteenth-century Romantic writers)—that not only goes beyond the typical Valentine’s Day notion but also situates it in the existential sphere as serious to human concern as life and death (as in the literary theme of “love and death.”)
Therefore, this series of musical essays, “The Troubadours & The Beloved,” by going back to the origins of “romantic love” in the Western world, endeavors to help bring a new awareness of a relatively repressed and forgotten tradition (at least to the American general public)—that of eros, amor, and amore. However, given that we are well aware of the connection between Valentine’s Day and “romantic love,” it may seem odd that I have referred to this eros-tradition as repressed and forgotten. Surely, on a popular level, we all take the notion of “romantic love” for granted during our hearts-and-flowers Valentine’s Day observances, in our modern courtship rituals, and even in our penchant for the “romantic comedies” that draw us to the cinema for romance by proxy. In any case, this is not what I’m referring to when I use the terms eros, amor, and amore as representing a repressed and forgotten tradition.
To put it plainly, then, it is the purpose of this series of musical essays to bring what I’m calling an “eros-tradition” front and center, in a social milieu in which the phenomenon of “romantic love” is suspect and not taken seriously—if not debunked entirely—by a majority of the intellectual class. Indeed, “romantic love” has always had, from early on, its critics. Two-and-a-half millennia ago, the writers of the Greek world often viewed love with suspicion because it aroused uncontrollable passions that could drive a man to irresponsibility, to obsession, and even to madness. This same suspicion of romantic love continues with throughout history from the Neoplatonists, to the Rabbinic and Christian interpreters of the Song of Songs, to the Church clerics behind the savage Albigensian Crusade, and to the English Puritans who, up until very recently, determined our American morality (most prominently in matters of sex and marriage). Neither has “romantic love” ever lacked for those who try to tame it for “higher” purposes, such as family and community. For instance, today, in the secular sphere, psychologists regard it, at best, as a convenient illusion that couples go through until they can mature into “real love.” (This love only for a higher purpose begins in the twentieth century with Freud, who held that love was an instinct that had to be “sublimated” to the higher purpose of the super-ego and civilization.) But there’s no such “higher purpose” out of romantic love to be had for other psychoanalysts. For instance, the intellectually fashionable French psychoanalyst, Jacques Lacan, who has been called “the most controversial psycho-analyst since Freud,” has also gone to the source of romantic love and written of troubadour “courtly love” with the most dismissive critique. The troubadours, according to him, were engaging in nothing but “a poetic exercise, a fashion of playing with a certain number of idealizing and conventional themes, which could have no actual concrete reality.” Turning to the sociologists, there’s nothing “convenient” about this illusion, as they deem “romantic love” as nothing more than a byproduct of the bourgeois consumerism of a capitalist system. The case for romantic love doesn’t fare much better in the hands of medieval literary historians, who, while admitting a basis for it in the twelfth-century phenomenon of “courtly love,” nevertheless argue that this was only a fictional parlor game for aristocrats and never really practiced in the real world. Turning to the religious sphere, of course the churchmen hold that couples are only indulging in an inferior form of love, “profane love,” which takes a rather sorry third place behind caritas (brotherly love or love of neighbor) and agape (the love of God), the highest form of love. At least since the medieval period, religious authorities have taught that “profane love,” the love of eros, is an obstacle to the love of God, hence the Church’s hard-and-fast opposition of profane vs. sacred love in Western culture. By and large, then, the guardians of Western civilization see no redeeming value in “romantic love;” indeed, to many of these it is responsible for the majority of evils in the world. (Of course, my argument here doesn’t deny that for too many people “romantic love” does become an “illusion” that leads to terrible consequences. However, that admitted, there’s a bitter irony to the naysayers argument about evil consequences—a little thing Freud also warned about: instinctual “repression.”
Admittedly, the critics of romantic love do have a point; the modern phenomenon of romantic love (a love, unlike amor, that is supposed to lead to marriage), as practiced in the courtship ritual of many individuals (in a materialistic and capitalistic society), reduces the concept of romantic love primarily to that of a self-interested romance, wherein individuals regard each other as objects of consumption. This kind of romantic love represents a misapprehension of our proper human relationship to others, to nature, and to the divine—the kind of hyper self-seeking love that gives “romantic love” a bad name! Thus, to put the criticism where it properly belongs, the modern notion of “romantic love” between two individuals represent a relatively attenuated version of what has been identified as the troubadour’s “chivalric erotic philosophy,” or “erotic metaphysics.”
Nonetheless, I’m determined not to (as they say) “throw the baby out with the bathwater” and to go with modern “romantic love,” the reason being (a) that it’s the closest thing we have to the troubadour conception of love (fin’amor) and (b) the nineteenth-century Romantic poets, musicians, and writers (the natural heirs of the ethos of the troubadours) gave a profounder meaning to “romantic love” that we are aware of today.
It is my conviction, then, that “romantic love”—for all its noted limitations—retains, once you get past its superficial aspect, a deep core of psycho-spiritual aspiration and possibility of self-transformation. Therefore, I see the troubadours’ fin’amor as the direct ancestor of our modern notion of “romantic love.” One could say, then, that there’s a dual nature built into real “romantic love;” both a sexual and a spiritual aspect. I prefer to designate this dual aspect under the rubric of eros, which I see as manifesting in the troubadour notion of fin’amor. Here, eros/amor can be understood as both a sexual eros and a spiritual eros (which doesn’t limit the term “erotic love” to the purely physical realm and, conversely, doesn’t limit the term “spiritual love” to the disembodied realm). Therefore, the basic difference between the common notion today of “romantic love” (the kind that leaves itself open to justifiable criticism) and the alternative kind of “romantic love” I would re-vision through the troubadour concept of fin’amor is that spiritual eros is a love that is not an end in itself, but a desire for union and completion that opens the lover’s heart to a greater love, a love that finally encompasses the entire world. Indeed, as I will attempt to show, this deeper “romantic love”—what some troubadours called the “Religion of Love”—had as its aim to reverse the Fall of man and nature and to return to a primordial angelic state in a restoration of paradise. Not too shabby of a goal for disreputable “romantic love”!
Given all this, this musical essay series is presented in order to (a) subvert the dichotomy of sacred vs. profane love and thus (b) to remind today’s lovers that, on the contrary, they are in fact participating, albeit unconsciously, in a counter-tradition of love, or “amor,” that is every bit as sacred in its passion and goal as is agape—as it was not only to pre-Christian lovers, i.e., pagan lovers, but also to heretical Christian lovers who identified with a quasi-religious movement in the south of France (Occitania) in the twelfth century.
Therefore, although admittedly tentative and speculative, this musical essay series concerning the troubadours and their invention of what we know today as “romantic love” is, in the final analysis, an attempt to envision an alternative view of Western spirituality, which, in its Christoid dichotomy of sacred vs. profane, heavenly vs. earthly, spiritual vs. sexual “love,” has violently divided asunder the archetypal Lovers and turned the pre-Christian “Garden of Love” (celebrated again by the troubadours) into a Wasteland. This is exactly what William Blake was on about in this poem “Garden of Love,” when he protested that “Priests in black gowns … binding with briars, my joys & desires:”
I went to the Garden of Love,
And saw what I never had seen:
A Chapel was built in the midst,
Where I used to play on the green.
And the gates of this Chapel were shut,
And Thou shalt not. writ over the door;
So I turn'd to the Garden of Love,
That so many sweet flowers bore.
And I saw it was filled with graves,
And tomb-stones where flowers should be:
And Priests in black gowns, were walking their rounds,
And binding with briars, my joys & desires.
The Christoid “Wasteland,” then, is not only mirrored metaphorically in the medieval romances and the Grail-Quest cycle, but also literally in the physical destruction of the natural environment—an environment of which Leonard Cohen laments: “Everybody Knows that the naked man and woman/are just the shinning artifacts of the past.” Therefore, I would suggest that “Religion of Love/Amor,” or what I’m calling the “Love-Cult of Eros-Rose,” may be part and parcel of a deep psychological longing of Western man to rejoin heavenly/sacred and profane/earthly love, and thus regain, as envisioned in the Arthurian romances, the Eden of paradise lost.
At a general level, then, this series of musical essays concerns itself with what took place in the “High Middle Ages,” in a period known to some historians as the “Twelfth-century Renaissance,” with its creative epicenter in the south of France (Occitania) and its particular genius manifested first in the troubadours’ Occitan lyrical poetry and then in the poets of the verse and prose medieval romances, of which the final flower was the Grail-Quest cycle. Specifically, this musical essay series focuses on the manifestation—the rebirth—of eros with the Twelfth-century Renaissance; to wit, what has come to be known as the Courtly Love Tradition, which at its height became a pan-European phenomenon. (The High Middle Ages are dated from 1100–1350 CE. The troubadour school or tradition began in the late eleventh century in Occitania, but it subsequently spread, thanks to Eleanor of Aquitaine, to Italy, Spain, Portugal, and England. The most notable of these related movements were the trouvères in northern France and minnesingers in Germany.)
The Courtly Love Tradition’s influence for European culture—what has been termed “love in the Western world”—was mainly in the sphere of the human heart, since it is not too much to say that the twelfth-century troubadours (because of the inspiration from the Arab poets across the Pyrenees in Andalusia) “invented” what we commonly recognize as “romantic love.” Thus, in the poetry of the “Provençal troubadours and later in that of the trouveres of northern France, the poets of the dolce stil novo (sweet new style) of Italy (Guinizelli and Dante), and the minnesingers of Germany, woman becomes the object of the poet’s adoration “lady” (domna or midons) becomes the recipient of the poet’s homage, fidelity, and obedience. Once more, in the process of making a high art out of falling in love, this Courtly Love Tradition (thanks to educated women, such as Eleanor of Aquitaine and Marie de Champagne) also created a literature out of song that finally gave birth to modern European poetry. (In fact, poet Ezra Pound, credits the troubadours for what we know as “European poetry” itself, fostered by troubadour-influenced poets, such as Dante and Petrarcha.) This singular legacy has, for some time now, also been recognized by scholars.
Be that as it may, I believe the recognition of this stunning achievement is incomplete if the deeper roots of the Troubadour Courtly Love inspiration are overlooked in favor of a strictly aesthetic, literary, or musical contribution to Western culture. This is not what I mean by the eros-tradition; not the repressed and forgotten tradition of love I am calling “The Religion of Love/Amor.”
When I refer to a “repressed and forgotten tradition,” how many of us have ever heard of the religious heresy and mystery cult that lies behind the Troubadour Courtly Love phenomenon—one that may point to an esoteric/mystic origin of what we commonly know as “romantic love”? (Hence, the justification for these Sixties’ love lyrics: “I wanna rock your gypsy soul / Just like way back in the days of old / Then magnificently we will float / Into the mystic.”) Once more, how many of us, observing an over-sentimentalized and thoroughly commercialized Valentine’s Day festival seriously believe that erotic love can have higher ceiling than commonly experienced in our sex-and-the-city type romances and affairs—a spiritual dimension that goes to the heart of Western culture? (By the way, this must be the reason why the mythologist Joseph Campbell believed that the Arthurian Grail romances, which were prose romances partly inspired by troubadour poetry/song, represented the potential of spiritual renewal for Western culture; that the realization of amor will be the gateway to spiritual understanding for future generations.) Hence, I would suggest that there’s an enduring legacy of the Troubadour Courtly Love Tradition—the eros-tradition of the Twelfth-century Renaissance—that has helped to mold our present-day concept not only of romantic love but also concepts of human rights, professional ethics, military conduct, and gender relations, and that brining this to hidden legacy light will enable us to better understand our own world today.
Therefore, let it be known that this series of musical essays on the Troubadours and the Beloved attempts to flesh out some of the leads I have discovered that point to a more profound manifestation of eros—and thus of erotic love—in the troubadour Twelfth-century Renaissance than accounted for by mainstream scholarship. Essentially, if what I have gleaned and put together from my research into the origin and meaning of the Troubadour Courtly Love Tradition proves sound, this would mean a more revolutionary conception of eros in the Western world—of “love in the Western world.” Yet, although this is worthwhile in its own right, I also hope to show that more is at stake here in such a re-visioning of eros in the Western world. Given the social implications of what was going on at this time in the south of France (then known as a separate cultural region called the Occitan or Occitania), one can make a good case for this twelfth-century manifestation of the eros-tradition as the first major challenge to the dominant patriarchal worldview and its mores.
Furthermore, one could extrapolate from this that the “rebirth of eros” had religious, philosophical, and even political implications for an emerging new paradigm in the Western world. In other words, from the research I have done, I have come to realize that the emergence of a new paradigm at this time in the south of France is, in the final analysis, essentially about the return of the feminine principle in Western, patriarchal civilization. (This has to do with the controversial theory of the “matriarchal” origins of the troubadour tradition and its “Cult of Woman,” which origins add up to certain pagan survivals in the Christian medieval period. Although the term “the feminine” properly belongs to the philosophy and art of the Romantic era of the nineteenth century rather than the era of the twelfth-century troubadours, I use it here in spite of this because I believe that the notion of the eternal feminine ordinarily associated with Goethe and Nietzsche and writers after them is as old as the twelfth-century eroto-spiritual philosophy of fin’amor. That said, I must add here the caveat that troubadour love as not entirely free of patriarchal attitudes. After all, there was, of course, no self-conscious feminism at that time and certain power structures of male privilege operated through the “courtly love” tradition. By the same token, we can’t judge the worth of the tentative photo-feminist ideas by the standards of our time. So, when I use the word “revolutionary” to describe the challenge to the patriarchy represented by the troubadours and trobairitzes, it should be taken to mean revolutionary for that time.) Up to this time, especially in the European “dark ages,” feeling, relatedness, soul-consciousness, and other “feminine” values had been virtually driven out of Western culture by the reigning patriarchal mentality (largely that embodied in the Church).
Therefore, I see the troubadour Twelfth-century Renaissance as the first instance of a counter-culture to the dominant Christian/patriarchal culture of the medieval period. (It should be noted here that I use this term “counter-culture” not in the popular sense but in technical sense literary historian and social theoretician, Edward Said, uses it.) This means, in my estimation, that the troubadours created the first Western feminine/soul-based culture in southern France (the Occitan).
By taking a journey back—“way, way back”—to the twelfth-century troubadours, the Gypsy Scholar hopes that in the process of tracing out the origins and historical trajectory romantic love he will get down to the true voice of the troubadours, one that expressed, through the term fin’amor, a kind of love that was both erotic and spiritual, overcoming the theological split between profane and sacred love. I also hope to make the case (as I have previewed in this Introduction) that this new invention of the heart by the troubadours, although centered on what we now call “romantic love” is not limited to it, but had, at the beginning of the second millennium, profound implications on a much wider scale; i.e., the socio-political (the politics of gender relationships), the philosophical, the psychological, and the spiritual spheres of life that reflected profound changes that were taking place in medieval, Christian culture.
For the sake of this musical essay series, then, I will call this counter-cultural tradition after Eros, the pagan god of love (more accurately, a “daimon”) from which we get our notion of the “erotic,” and which in its original formulation was not limited to the purely sexual. (To avoid confusion, I must clarify what I mean by using the term eros here. I’m not using it in the customary sense defined by Christian theology, which has it as a purely sexual love as opposed to agape; i.e., erotic love vs spiritual love. The term eros, as I use it here, will be (a) in its original sense of a Platonic ontological force, with eros ranging in a continuum from sexual to spiritual love—love that gives wings to the soul to fly upward to the infinite—, and (b) in the sense of the later Neo-Freudian reformulation as the life principle. Therefore, “the rebirth of eros” in the twelfth century doesn’t mean the reemergence of love limited to the body; i.e., carnal love. For eros as an in-between type of love—in between purely carnal and purely spiritual—, the troubadour term amor, or, more accurately, fin’amor is the proper one, whether or not all troubadours physically consummated their love. This in-between love, eros is, according to Plato’s priestess of love, Diotima, not a god but a great spirit, a daimon—an in-between spirit, being half-god and half human—, who intermediates between gods and men.)
Therefore, in this series of musical essays entitled “The Troubadours & The Beloved,” I shall basically argue the following: (a) the troubadour phenomenon was both a rebirth of the life-principle of eros (union) and the rebirth of the feminine principle in the Western world, after its long repression due to the (Christian) patriarchy; (b) the troubadour phenomenon heralded, after centuries of historical forgetfulness and the repressive Cold War morality of the 1950s, the eventual rebirth of eros in the 1960s; a powerful resurgence up from below to have its day in the culture and music of the Sixties.
Concerning the music selected for this musical essay series (from folk-rock to classic rock and beyond), I should point out that there is another purpose for this musical essay that kicks off on Valentine’s Day (and the musical essays that follow), because the celebration of love is also the celebration of love-in-song. Thus, I will use this series of musical essays to answer the question of the Western origins of our popular tradition of love-song (at least its medieval focal-point origins), and in so doing ask his own (rhetorical) question on this mysterious topic: In the history of Western culture, at least since the Middle Ages, how can one separate romantic love from poetry/song?
Therefore, the other purpose of the entire musical essay series, “The Troubadours & The Beloved,” will entail tracing the origins of the Western love song back—“way, way back”—in order to re-vision (along with the notion of romantic love) the popular, secular love song. (And here we may see that romantic love and its natural expression in song were born simultaneously.) In other words, I will trace the Sixties and post-Sixties secular love song all the way back to those twelfth-century itinerant singer-songwriters known as the “troubadours,” who sang of both the joys and sorrows, of both the highs and lows (from “There’s a love that’s divine, / And it’s yours and it’s mine” [V.M.] to “And love is not a victory march / It’s a cold and it’s a broken Hallelujah” [L.C.]) of being “in love” (a love/amor that was at once a passion, a fever or mania, and an ennobling force). And, after traveling back to the time of the troubadours, I hope that this will enable his audience to clearly see the connection of love-song forward in time to that special class of singer-songwriters of the Sixties, in order to reveal a relatively unrecognized continuity (not technically, but stylistically and thematically) of a musical tradition that has escaped the attention of the majority of popular music critics (or, if they only nominally recognize “modern troubadours,” then substantiating such by way of solid thematic connections between the singer-songwriter musicians of the twelfth century and the twentieth).
Here, I recognized underground continuity of these historical connections little by little, as I immersed myself in research into the background of the troubadour phenomenon of the “High Middle Ages.” What began as an investigation driven only by intuitions of a profound connection to folk and folk-rock music, eventually turned up formal and thematic connections with Sixties music that confirmed my hunches of a profound cultural legacy and inheritance. I then understood that the label of “troubadour” given to Sixties singer-songwriters (e.g., Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, Judy Collins, Phil Oaks, Tim Hardin, Loudon Wainwright III, Tim Buckley, Richard Farina, Donovan, Leonard Cohen, Van Morrison, Joni Mitchell, James Taylor, Paul Simon, Gordon Lightfoot, Neil Young, and Cat Stevens) was not a just a willy-nilly designation; it was a recognition, however dim, of a special class of poet-musicians that had always emerged to voice the soul of the people—their dreams and visions, their longings and hopes, their anguishes and their joys—, bringing renewal to Western culture. In effect, then, what I discovered through my research were enduring parallels between the original troubadour Twelfth-century Renaissance and the cultural rebirth that occurred in the nineteen-sixties.
Given such a profound discovery, in this series of musical essays, I would call attention to an underground artistic/cultural inheritance, a survival of such magnitude that couldn’t help but influence the singer-songwriters of the Sixties Counterculture era. Therefore, the research behind this musical essay series, “The Troubadours & The Beloved,” would suggest that although the troubadour twelfth-century counterculture has long since disappeared, its underlying poetic ethos and thematic musical tropes nevertheless survives and has been given new expression in the songs that became a living soundtrack to the Sixties Counterculture.
In closing, I would suggest that my “The Troubadours & The Beloved” musical essay series answers the age-old question of where the secular love song comes from. Inquiring of the troubadours, their answer is that it comes from love/amor: “The poets and singers of the troubadour tradition envisioned love as inspiration to song.”