Medieval Minstrel

A medieval minstrel was a bard who performed various songs along with music telling the tales of distant lands. This was included in folk music and a medieval minstrel made rich use of folk tales of distant lands and also sang about imaginary historical events.

Generally, a medieval minstrel would travel from village to village but sometimes minstrels were also employed by nobles and royal courts, in which case they enjoyed considerable privilege.

  • Definition of a Medieval Minstrel
  • What Acts did a Minstrel Perform?
  • Life of a Medieval Minstrel?
  • Was a Minstrel Wealthy?
  • What did a Minstrel Wear?
  • Did a Minstrel live in a Castle?

A medieval minstrel was a wandering musician who travelled from place to place and made use of various instruments such as lute, harp, and others.

Medieval Minstrel Plays a Haarp

Harp

Thus a medieval minstrel earned his living through poetry and music which made rich use of historical elements, although most of the time these were either fabricated or loosely based on actual historical events.

Minstrels-and-Troubadours-berlin

Minstrels and Troubadours

What Acts did a Minstrel Perform

The main task of a medieval minstrel was singing. For this purpose, a medieval minstrel often created his own ballads which were mainly based on myths and legends. During medieval times, these songs were rich with tales of chivalry and courtly love.

Courtly Love often took place in a Garden Setting

Medieval Courty Love

Other skills that a medieval minstrel could perform included dancing, acrobatics, juggling, etc. To enrich the variety of their performance, minstrels sometimes employed Jongleurs as assistants.

Since most of the medieval minstrels travelled from place to place, they were also known as travelling entertainers.

Jongleurs Medieval Musicians *Medieval Minstrels

Jongleurs

Medieval Minstrel *Daily Life

There was no set daily life of a medieval minstrel. Sometimes, he was employed by nobles or the royal court, his daily life would consist of singing and performing for his employers, but the exact routine could vary considerably.

When a medieval minstrel was travelling, his daily life would depend on many factors including his travels and the type of audience he would entertain.

Medieval Minstrel

Medieval Minstrel Fast Facts

  • Medieval Minstrels were Wandering Entertainers
  • Minstrels Mainly Sang, Played Instruments, Told Tales & Read Poetry
  • Medieval Minstrels Perform Acrobatics, Dancing & Juggling
  • A Medieval Minstrel Created Unique Ballads
  • Some Minstrels were Employed by Nobles & The Royal Court

How Much Money did a Minstrel Make?

The money that a medieval minstrel made varied and depended on his position. If he was employed by nobles, he could amass a considerable fortune. However, as a travelling medieval minstrel, he would largely depend on the gifts, clothes, and food that people gave him.

Medieval Moneyer Made Medieval Silver Coins

Where Did a Minstrel Live?

If a medieval minstrel was in the service of nobles or the royal court, he lived in the castle and had a permanent abode. But since most of the medieval minstrels were merely travelling entertainers, they did not have any permanent place of residence.

Medieval Home Interior

In this case, they would live wherever they could find a suitable place and be sometimes given a temporary place to live by the people of the village.

Medieval Minstrels Music

Medieval Minstrel

Minstrels Costumes

Since a medieval minstrel was an entertainer, his costume also represented this image. Thus it was common for a medieval minstrel to wear bright multi-colored costumes and even the horse of a medieval minstrel would have a colorful costume.

Medieval Minstrel Musicians

Minstrel Fast Facts

  • Minstrels Employed by Nobles & Royal Courts Could be Wealthy
  • Travelling Minstrels were Poor and Relied on Hand Outs to Survive
  • Travelling Minstrels could be Given Temporary Places to Live in Cities, Towns & Villages
  • Minstrels wore Brightly Coloured Costumes
  • A Minstrel Could be Described as a Bard who also Sang & Entertained People
Medieval Bard Poet and Musician

Bard *Musician

Medieval Minstrel Summary

A medieval minstrel was a bard who sang music and entertained people for a living. Sometimes he was employed by the royal court or nobility in which case he earned a decent wage and enjoyed reasonable social status.

Most medieval minstrels, though, were travelling entertainers and did not have a permanent abode.



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