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Music of France
Transcript of Music of France
Traditional styles of music have survived most in remote areas like the island of Corsica and mountainous Auvergne, as well as the more nationalistic regions of the Basques and Bretons. In many cases, folk traditions were revived in relatively recent years to cater to tourists. These groupes folkloriques tend to focus on very early 20th-century melodies and the use of the piano accordion.
The 19th century saw the apogee of the Cabaret style with Yvette Guilbert as a major star. The era lasted through to the 1930s and saw the likes of Édith Piaf, Charles Trenet, Maurice Chevalier, Tino Rossi, Félix Mayol, Lucienne Boyer, Marie-Louise Damien, Marie Dubas, Fréhel, Georges Guibourg and Jean Sablon.
During the 50s and 60s, it was the golden age of Chanson Française: Juliette Greco, Mireille Mathieu, Georges Brassens, Jacques Brel, Gilbert Bécaud, Monique Serf (Barbara), Léo Ferré, Charles Aznavour and Alain Barrière. The Yéyé style was popular in the 1950s and 60s with Sheila, Claude François and Françoise Hardy.
The music of France reflects a diverse array of styles. In the field of classical music, France has produced a number of legendary romantic composers, while folk and popular music have seen the rise of the chanson and cabaret style. The earliest known sound recording device in the world, the phonautograph, was patented in France by Édouard-Léon Scott de Martinville in 1857. France is also the 5th largest market by value in the world, and its music industry has produced many internationally renowned artists, especially in the nouvelle chanson and electronic music.
French music history dates back to organum in the 10th century, followed by the Notre Dame School, an organum composition style. Troubadour songs of chivalry and courtly love were composed in the Occitan language between the 10th and 13th centuries, and the Trouvère poet-composers flourished in Northern France during this period.
By the end of the 12th century, a form of song called the motet arose, accompanied by traveling musicians called jongleurs. In the 14th century, France produced two notable styles of music, Ars Nova and Ars Subtilior.
Medieval motet composers Adam de la Halle
The move of the center of musical activity from Paris to Burgundy defines the beginning of the musical Renaissance in France. The political instability under weak kings, and continued dismemberment and acquisition of territory by the English during the Hundred Years' War all contributed to moving musicians east.
French musical domination of Europe ended during the Renaissance, and Flemish and Italian musicians became more important. Later French composers of the Renaissance include Nicolas Gombert, Pierre de La Rue, Pierre de Manchicourt, Claude Goudimel, Pierre Certon, Jean Mouton, Claudin de Sermisy, and Clément Janequin. The French chanson became popular during this time, and was exported to Italy as the canzona.
The first French opera may be Akébar roi du Mogol, first performed in Carpentras in 1646. It was followed by the team of Pierre Perrin and Cambert, whose Pastoral in Music, performed in Issy, was a success, and the pair moved to Paris to produce Pomone (1671) and Les Peines et les Plaisirs de l'Amour (1672).
Jean-Baptiste Lully, who had become well known for composing ballets for Louis XIV, began creating a French version of the Italian opera seria, a kind of tragic opera known as tragédie lyrique or tragédie en musique - see (French lyric tragedy). His first was Cadmus from 1673. Lully's forays into operatic tragedy were accompanied by the pinnacle of French theatrical tragedy, led by Corneille and Racine.
The French composer, Georges Bizet, composed Carmen, one of the most well known and popular operas.
Carmen Georges Bizet
One of the major French composers of the time, and one of the most innovative composers of the early Romantic era, was Hector Berlioz.
In the late 19th century, pioneers like Georges Bizet, Jules Massenet, Gabriel Fauré, Maurice Ravel and Claude Debussy revitalized French music. The last two had an enormous impact on 20th-century music - both in France and abroad - and influenced many major composers like Béla Bartók and Igor Stravinsky. Erik Satie was also a very significant composer from that era. His music is difficult to classify but sounds surprisingly ahead of its time.
The early 20th century saw neo-classical music flourish in France, especially composers like Albert Roussel and Les Six, a group of musicians who gathered around Satie.
Later in the century, Olivier Messiaen, Henri Dutilleux and Pierre Boulez proved influential. The latter was a leading figure of Serialism while Messiaen incorporated Asian (particularly Indian) influences and bird song and Dutilleux translated the innovations of Debussy, Bartók and Stravinsky into his own, very personal, musical idiom.
The most important French contribution to musical innovation of the past 35 years is a form of computer-assisted composition called "spectral music": major composers in this vein include Gérard Grisey, Tristan Murail, and Claude Vivier.
Since 1998, musical works patented by René-Louis Baron made a big step in the two domains of algorithmic music and artificial intelligence.
In 1900 in Paris, a new style of waltz emerged, the "Valse musette" an evolution of Bal-musette also known as "French Waltz". Aimable, Émile Vacher, Marcel Azzola, Yvette Horner, André Verchuren were famous accordionists who played valse musette. There is also Yann Tiersen and its Amélie (soundtrack) of Amélie from Montmartre.
Musette is a style of French music and dance that became popular in Paris in the 1880s. Musette uses the accordion as main instrument, and often symbolizes the French art of living abroad. Émile Vacher (1883-1969) was the star of the new style. Other popular musette accordeonists include Aimable Pluchard, Yvette Horner and André Verchuren. In 2001, the musette-style was a huge international success through the album Amélie composed by Yann Tiersen.
The Cancan, also called French-Cancan, is a high-energy and physically demanding musical dance, traditionally performed by a chorus line of female dancers who wear costumes with long skirts, petticoats, and black stockings. The main features of the dance are the lifting and manipulation of the skirts, with high kicking and suggestive, provocative body movements. The Infernal Galop from Jacques Offenbach's Orpheus in the Underworld is the tune most associated with the Cancan. The Cancan first appeared in the working-class ballrooms of Montparnasse in Paris in around 1830. It was a more lively version of the Galop, a dance in quick 2/4 time, which often featured as the final figure in the Quadrille.
Cabaret is a typical form of French musical entertainment featuring chanson, music, dance, comedy and spectacles. The audience usually sits at tables, often dining or drinking, and performances are sometimes introduced by a master of ceremonies. The first cabaret was opened in 1881 in Montmartre, Paris, by Rodolphe Salis and was called Le Chat Noir (The Black Cat). Built in 1889, Moulin Rouge is famous for the large red windmill on its roof. Other popular French cabarets include the Folies Bergère and Le Lido. Cabarets were a key venue in the careers of many singers like Mistinguett, Josephine Baker, Charles Trenet and Edith Piaf. More recently, Patricia Kaas embodies the revival of the French cabaret style.
Chanson Française is the typical style of French music (chanson means "song" in French) and is still very popular in France. Some of the most important artists included: Édith Piaf, Juliette Greco, Mireille Mathieu, Jacques Brel, Georges Brassens, Gilbert Bécaud, Monique Serf (Barbara), Léo Ferré, Charles Aznavour, Salvatore Adamo and Dalida plus the more art-house musicians like Brigitte Fontaine.
The more commercial and pop part of Chanson is called Variété in French, and included Vanessa Paradis, Patricia Kaas, Patrick Bruel, Marc Lavoine, Pascal Obispo, Florent Pagny, Francis Cabrel, Étienne Daho, Alain Souchon, Laurent Voulzy and Jean-Jacques Goldman. The superstar status of diva Mylène Farmer inspired pop-rock performers like Zazie, Lorie and Alizée this last recognized as the most successful and iconic French female singer of the 21st century, and R&B singers like Nadiya and Ophelie Winter. More recently, the success of musical television shows have spawned a new generation of young pop-music stars including Nolwenn Leroy, Grégory Lemarchal, Christophe Willem, Julien Doré and Élodie Frégé. The French-Caribbean singer Shy'm enjoys a status of popstar in France since her first album in 2006, as well as her male counterpart Matt Pokora. Notable pop-rock groups include Niagara and Indochine.
Though rock was not extremely popular until the 70s, there were innovative musicians in France as the psychedelic rock trend was peaking worldwide. Jean-Pierre Massiera's Les Maledictus Sound (1968) and Aphrodite's Child's 666 were the most influential. Later came bands such as Magma, Martin Circus, Au Bonheur des Dames, Trust, Téléphone, Noir Désir, and musicians Marcel Dadi, Paul Personne and Bireli Lagrene.
In the early 70s, Breton musician Alan Stivell (Renaissance de la Harpe Celtique) launched the field of French folk-rock by combining psychedelic and progressive rock sounds with Breton and Celtic folk styles.
Electronic music, as exemplified by Jean Michel Jarre and Cerrone, achieved a wide French audience. The French electro-pop duos Air and Daft Punk and techno artists Laurent Garnier and David Guetta found a wide audience in the late 1990s and early first decade of the 21st century, both locally and internationally. Groups such as Justice, M83, Phoenix, Télépopmusik and Klingande continue to enjoy success.
French house is a late 1990s form of house music, part of the 1990s and first decade of the 21st-century European dance music scene and the latest form of Euro disco. The genre is also known as "Disco house", "Neu-disco" (new disco), "French touch", "filter house" or "tekfunk". The early mid/late 1990s productions was notable for the "filter effect" used by artists such as Daft Punk. Other productions use more mainstream vocals and samples. French house is greatly influenced by the 1970s Euro disco and especially the short lived space disco music style (a European (mostly French) variation of Hi-NRG disco), and also by P-Funk and the productions of Thomas Bangalter
The mass international commercial success of the genre started in 2000 because of artists like Bob Sinclar, Etienne de Crécy and Modjo. Galleon followed the next year.
Today most French house bands and artists have moved on to other music styles, notably a French variation of electro, that is danced on the milky way/Tecktonik style.
Hip hop music was exported to France in the 1980s, and French rappers and DJs, MC Solaar, also had some success. Hip hop music came from New York City, invented in the 1970s by African Americans. By 1983, the genre had spread to much of the world, including France.
Hip-hop was adapted to French context, especially the poverty of large cities known as banlieues ("suburbs") where many French of foreign descent live, especially from the former colonial countries (West Africa and Caribbean). If there is some influence of African musics and of course American hip hop, French hip-hop is also strongly connected to French music, with strong reciprocal influences, from French pop and chanson, both in music and lyrics.