Minstrels and Troubadours

Information traveled slowly during the Renaissance, and it took hundreds of years for it to spread throughout the European continent. Minstrels and troubadours were still around during the late part of it, but they were actually a holdover from the Middle Ages. Interestingly, they did not travel all over the world as most people believe. Minstrels were usually associated with a noble household, and they traveled only when not employed at court. Over time, many of them chose to travel rather than count upon the bounty of a lord.

While most minstrels and troubadours did sing and play at least one musical instrument, minstrels were actually known for being able to memorize and recite poetry. As their roles changed, they became called troubadours, and music became an important part of their repertoire. They often traveled with acrobats and jugglers to keep crowds entertained, and were eventually forced to join the Royal Minstrel’s Guild in England or stop working at their trade.