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Published on Jul 14, 2009
Jehan de Lescurel (also Jehannot de l'Escurel) (died May 23, 1304) was a medieval poet and composer. Nothing is known of his life other than that he was the son of a merchant in Paris, and he probably received his musical training at the Notre Dame cathedral. For many years, it has been presumed he was hanged on May 23, 1304, along with three other young clerics of Notre Dame, including Oudinet Pisdoé, for "debauchery" and "crimes against women" (Hoppin, p. 368). Recent research showed that "Jehan de Lescurel" was a rather common name in early fourteenth-century Paris. And no link is found between Jehan de Lescurel, the composer and some Jehan de Lescurel who was hanged. He was a transitional figure from the trouvère period to the ars nova. His lyrical style unites him with the composers of the later period, and they clearly thought highly enough of him to include his music in the same manuscript which preserves the Roman de Fauvel. Most of his works are monophonic songs, in the style of the trouvères; only one of his 34 works was polyphonic, although he wrote other works which have not survived. The songs are virelais, ballades, rondeaux and diz entés; they include word-painting more in the style of the later 14th century composers than those of the 13th century; they are simple, charming, and debauchery is not a prominent theme.