Songbook for Pilgrims to Santiago de Compostela

Les Chansons des Pèlerins de S. Jacques.
[Troyes]: Sur l’Imprimé à Compostel, [1718]. (BRB0370)

This tiny songbook was printed for the use of French pilgrims along the Camino de Santiago. Illustrated throughout with charmingly crude woodcuts, the book contains the texts of numerous chansons. As the melodies for the chansons would have been familiar to the pilgrims, the tunes were indicated by their titles alone, without musical notation. The book also includes various prayers, memorials of saints, shrines, and relics at Santiago de Compostela, and a table of the distances between various towns along the pilgrimage road. Although the book would have been inexpensive when it was published, today it is a rare treasure, as few copies have survived the hardships of pilgrimage. Exhibited is the opening of the chanson “Ma Calebasse est ma Compagne” (“My gourd is my companion”); pilgrims often used hollow gourds as water canteens.

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Songbook for Pilgrims to Santiago de Compostela