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A tenso (Old Occitan: [tenˈsu, teⁿˈsu]; French: tençon) is a style of troubadour song. It takes the form of a debate in which each voice defends a position; common topics relate to love or ethics. Usually, the tenso is written by two different poets, but several examples exist in which one of the parties is imaginary, including God (Peire de Vic), the poet's horse (Gui de Cavalhon) or his cloak (Bertran Carbonel).[1] Closely related, and sometimes overlapping, genres include:

  • the partimen, in which more than two voices discuss a subject
  • the cobla esparsa or cobla exchange, a tenso of two stanzas only
  • the contenson, where the matter is eventually judged by a third party.

Notable examples[edit]


In Italian literature, the tenso was adapted as the tenzone. In Old French, it became the tençon.

In the Galician-Portuguese lyric, it was called tençom.[2]


  1. ^ Bec, Pierre (1984). Burlesque et obscénité chez les troubadours : pour une approche du contre-texte médiéval (ed. bilingue ed.). Paris: Stock. ISBN 2-234-01711-4.
  2. ^ "Glossário - Tençom". Cantigas Medievais Galego-Portuguesas (in Portuguese). Retrieved August 22, 2022.