The Jongleurs were often collaborators or assistants of
Minstrels. Jongleurs gained a reputation of
itinerant entertainers of Medieval France and in Norman England
where many were deemed to be vagabonds and untrustworthy. Their repertoire included extravagant skills
in dancing, conjuring, acrobatics, and juggling. The
Jongleurs also played a part in singing, and storytelling.
Many were skilled in playing musical instruments, although
their skills were not greatly recognised or rewarded.
Skills of the Jongleurs
Jongleurs were required to be
all round entertainers and have a variety of different skills. These
skills are illustrated in the following description:
I can play the lute, vielle, pipe, bagpipe, panpipes, harp, fiddle,
guittern, symphoy, psaltery, orginistrum, organ, tabor and the rote. I
can sing a song well, and make tales to please young ladies, and can
play the gallant for them if necessary. I can throw knives into the air
and catch them without cutting my fingers.
I can jump rope most extraordinary and amusing. I can balance chairs,
and make tables dance.
I can somersault, and walk doing a handstand.
Refer to the
Music index for facts and information about all of the above Medieval musical
and the Minstrels
The Minstrel was not as refined
or poetic as the Troubadour. The role of the Medieval Minstrel often required many
different entertainment skills due the expectations of their audiences.
Minstrels and even troubadours would therefore employ Jongleurs as assistants. The skills of the
Jongleurs included the following:
Playing various Musical
eventually led to roles as
- including animals such as dogs and monkeys in their shows
Demise of the Jongleurs
and the Minstrels
The Jongleurs gained a reputation of itinerant entertainers
of the Medieval times in France and Norman England. Another
type of performer of even lower rank than the Jongleurs were the gleemen, a travelling
entertainer. In time the Jongleurs disappeared. Their
reputations were such that they were replaced by the
Minstrels who also suffered from a similar stigma. In 1469 a charter of
King Edward IV ordered all minstrels to join a
Guild. It was called the
Guild of Royal Minstrels. Medieval Minstrels were required to either join the
guild or to stop being minstrels. The travelling musicians of the
Medieval era with their colorful lifestyle were eventually replaced by the court
musicians, jesters and entertainers. The
Waits became popular and extended their roles into
becoming town musicians.