Renowned as one of the greatest composers during the fourteenth century, Guillaume de Machaut (1300-1377) is classified as both a medieval musician as well as a poet. Composing over 145 works and hundreds of poems over the span of his lifetime, Machaut set the bar for other medieval musicians and composers to follow.
Both Machaut's poetry and musical compositions were heavily influenced by the events occuring in his life at the time. For example, several of his poems were written based on the Black Death in Europe and The Thirty Years War.
Compared to his other medieval contemporaries, Machaut was unique in the fact that he showed versatility in his compositional genres. For example, along with composing several secular songs in fixed form, Machaut also produced a cyclical setting to the Messe de Nostre Dame (Notre Dame Mass) in the 1360's that is known as one of his famous works today.
Among his many French poetic songs, including ballades and rondeaus, Foy Porter is one of Machaut's most famous secular songs. Written in the genre known as virelai, or one of three formes fixed in French tradition, Foy Porter is a lyrical monophonic song that is meant to evoke feelings of happiness in the listener. Following the standard virelai structure, this work is written A b b a A A form.