The word sestina is believed to derive from the word sesto, meaning sixth in Italian. As a form, it emerged from a group of twelfth-century poets, the troubadours, in Provence, France. Particularly associated with Arnaut Daniel, the complex form was the signature form of a master troubadour. Troubadours (in all probability from trobar - to invent or compose verse) were court poets. They sang, accompanied by joglars or jobbing minstrels, for French nobles at their courts. Thematically, the troubadours poems were highly wrought lyrical poems, dealing with courtly love, and often about or respectfully addressed to the wife of their particular patron. Well-written troubadour poems became popular as they were disseminated from court to court and troubadour to joglar and back again, enhancing reputation and standing for composer and patron alike.1 Troubadours competed with one another to produce witty, sensational poems.
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