Music was an integral part of courtly life in the Midi. High-born women and men wrote verse in very sophisticated forms and sang them to their company at banquets and other events. Sometimes two people, often a man and a woman but not always, would carry on lengthy conversations—or arguments—in verse back and forth, using courtly conventions and strict metrical forms.
The vielle was a medieval stringed instrument played with a bow. Its distinctive leaf-shaped body identifies it in images of the time.
This is the medieval precursor to the guitar, a stringed instrument that is plucked rather than bowed. Its body is shaped a little like a holly leaf. This is the instrument Azalaïs sees on the back of the musician who passes by at the beginning of the book, just before she finds the mysterious scroll.
Another bowed stringed instrument, this one played by resting on the arm or under the chin.
This video gives you an idea of what the trobairitz music might have sounded like.