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The term ”legere” (Old Nordic form leikari) is an old Danish word for folk musicians and buskers. Legere are first mentioned in sources from the Viking Age at the court of the Norwegian King Harald Fairhair. During medieval times the legere were mainly used at court, feast and market, but in spite of their popularity, they were low in the hierarchy when it came to status and physical security.

Life as a busker and folk musician

During the Middle Ages, a large number of foreign legere occasionally wandered through the Nordic countries, and from the 12th century, they gained a footing at the courts. Likewise, the legere performed at markets and larger feasts where they would receive gifts that sometimes were quite considerable. On the other hand, their job was neither safe nor of good repute; beating up a leger was not punishable and even the fines for killing or wounding a leger were minor. The Danish historian Saxo and several Icelandic bards expressed a certain aversion towards the legere in the 12th century. They viewed the legere as being of lower rank and ability than the bards, who were poets and troubadours. However, this did not interfere with the rising popularity of the legere.

During the 14th and 15th centuries, several folk musicians settled in Danish towns. The eldest known contract is that of Jes Lassen who was employed as a folk musician in Aarhus in 1500. At first, most musicians came from the German regions, but towards the end of the Middle Ages, the musicians were mostly native, because, much like other artisans, the folk musicians took apprentices and taught them the trade. The main purpose of the folk musicians was to perform ballads and poetry at feasts.

Om artiklen

Forfatter(e)
Stefan Pajung
Tidsafgrænsning
900 - 1536
Medietype
Tekst
Sidst redigeret
20. juni 2011
Sprog
Dansk
Litteratur

Koudal, Jens Henrik: For borgere og bønder. Stadsmusikantvæsenet i Danmark ca. 1660-1800 (2000).

Olrik, Axel: Middelalderens vandrende Spillemænd, i Smaaskrifter af det filologiske Samfund (1886).

 

Udgiver
danmarkshistorien.dk

Relateret indhold

Om artiklen

Forfatter(e)
Stefan Pajung
Tidsafgrænsning
900 - 1536
Medietype
Tekst
Sidst redigeret
20. juni 2011
Sprog
Dansk
Litteratur

Koudal, Jens Henrik: For borgere og bønder. Stadsmusikantvæsenet i Danmark ca. 1660-1800 (2000).

Olrik, Axel: Middelalderens vandrende Spillemænd, i Smaaskrifter af det filologiske Samfund (1886).

 

Udgiver
danmarkshistorien.dk