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 medieval minstrel perform?
  • Life of a medieval minstrel?
  • Was a Medieval minstrel wealthy?
  • What did a Minstrel wear?
  • Did a minstrel live in a castle?
  • What was a Medieval Minstrel

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

Minstrels-and-Troubadours-berlin

Minstrels and Troubadours Berlin

What Acts did a Minstrel Perform

The main task of a medieval minstrel was singing. For this purposes, a medieval minstrel often created his own ballads which were mainly based on myths and legends. During the medieval times, these songs were rich with tales of chivalry and courtly love. Other skills that a medieval minstrel could perform included dancing, acrobatics, and 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.

Daily life of a Minstrel

There was no set daily life of a medieval minstrel. Sometimes, when he was employed by nobles or 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 would be travelling, his daily life would depend on the kind of audience he had during his travels. In this case, his daily life consisted of travelling and performing.

  • Medieval minstrels were wandering entertainers
  • Minstrels mainly performed sang and played music but also told tales and poetry
  • Medieval minstrels could also perform acrobatics, juggling and dancing
  • A medieval minstrel would often create his own ballads
  • Some medieval minstrels were lucky and were employed by nobles and 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 considerable amount of money. However, as a travelling medieval minstrel, he would largely depend on the gifts, clothes and food that people gave him.

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

Medieval Minstrels Music

Medieval Minstrels and Music

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-coloured costumes and even the horse of a medieval minstrel would have a colourful costume.

Summary of Medieval Minstrel

A medieval minstrel was a bard who sang music and entertained people for living. Sometimes he was employed by the royal court or nobility in which case he earned decent wage and enjoyed reasonable social status. Most medieval minstrels, through, were travelling entertainers and did not have a permanent abode.

  • Some minstrels were quite well paid if they were employed by nobles
  • Travelling minstrels relied on gifts and hand outs to survive
  • Some travelling minstrels were given temporary places to live in towns and villages
  • Minstrels wore brightly coloured costumes that made them stand out
  • A minstrel could be described as a bard who sang and entertained medieval people

This article explores the life of a medieval minstrel and gives a good understanding of the life of a medieval minstrel, if you would like to learn more about other medieval entertainers that had similar roles to the medieval minstrel in medieval times, please look at the medieval entertainers links at the bottom of this medieval minstrels page.

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