Medieval Musicians

Medieval Jongleurs
Definition and description of the Jongleurs: The Jongleurs can be described as a court attendant or other person such as a traveller who, for hire, recited or sang verses and performed other acts for the entertainment of the audience including thet of a conjuror or a juggler. Jongleur is the French word for juggler. Often the Jongleurs role was to assist the Troubadours or Minstrels.

The Jongleurs were often collaborators or assistants of Medieval Troubadours or 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 Medieval Music index for facts and information about all of the above Medieval musical instruments.

The Jongleurs 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 Instruments

  • Reciting poems

  • Singing

  • Buffoonery which eventually led to roles as Jesters

  • Juggling

  • Acrobatics

  • Dancing

  • Fire eating

  • Conjuring

  • Animal trainers - including animals such as dogs and monkeys in their shows

The 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.

Musicians Medieval

The Waits

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Patchwork Merchant Mercenaries had its humble beginnings as an idea of a few artisans and craftsmen who enjoy performing with live steel fighting. As well as a patchwork quilt tent canvas. Most had prior military experience hence the name.


Patchwork Merchant Mercenaries.


Vendertainers that brought many things to a show and are know for helping out where ever they can.

As well as being a place where the older hand made items could be found made by them and enjoyed by all.

We expanded over the years to become well known at what we do. Now we represent over 100 artisans and craftsman that are well known in their venues and some just starting out. Some of their works have been premiered in TV, stage and movies on a regular basis.

Specializing in Medieval, Goth , Stage Film, BDFSM and Practitioner.

Patchwork Merchant Mercenaries a Dept of, Ask For IT was started by artists and former military veterans, and sword fighters, representing over 100 artisans, one who made his living traveling from fair to festival vending medieval wares. The majority of his customers are re-enactors, SCAdians and the like, looking to build their kit with period clothing, feast gear, adornments, etc.

Likewise, it is typical for these history-lovers to peruse the tent (aka mobile store front) and, upon finding something that pleases the eye, ask "Is this period?"

A deceitful query!! This is not a yes or no question. One must have a damn good understanding of European history (at least) from the fall of Rome to the mid-1600's to properly answer. Taking into account, also, the culture in which the querent is dressed is vitally important. You see, though it may be well within medieval period, it would be strange to see a Viking wearing a Caftan...or is it?

After a festival's time of answering weighty questions such as these, I'd sleep like a log! Only a mad man could possibly remember the place and time for each piece of kitchen ware, weaponry, cloth, and chain within a span of 1,000 years!! Surely there must be an easier way, a place where he could post all this knowledge...

Traveling Within The World is meant to be such a place. A place for all of these artists to keep in touch and directly interact with their fellow geeks and re-enactment hobbyists, their clientele.

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