Definition and background:
French polyphonic song of the Middle Ages and Renaissance set to either courtly or popular poetry. See also Burgundian chanson. any French-texted secular song. Trouvere chansons--which were strophic--often followed the internal a a b form of the troubadour canso, but could also be through-composed (without any set musical structure) or follow one of the formes fixes. By the fourteenth century, formes fixes were the norm. a French song. the word is used to indicate songs from the troubadour compositions of the middle ages to the art-songs of the 19th and 20th centuries
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Wikipedia - Glossary of Musical Terminology
Virginia Tech Multimedia Music Dictionary
ORB -- Medieval Music Glossary