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Rules for setting of French text in the writings of Alexandre Etienne Choron (1771-1834) and his contemporaries

by Rosser, Geraldine Metcalf

Abstract (Summary)
Alexandre Etienne Choron (1771-1834), a French music historian, theorist, and pedagogue, included sections on text-setting in two of his large treatises, "Principes de composition des ecoles d'Italie" (1808) and "Manuel complet de musique" (1836-39), the latter edited and completed by his student and colleague, Adrien de La Fage (1801-1862). It appears that Choron's rules were intended for students to apply in the setting of French texts. Both of Choron's documents are examined for their text-setting rules; these rules are then codified into a comprehensive list of rules, the more objective of which are used to create an analytical method that graphically portrays poetic and musical considerations in one display on the score. The analytical method is applied to songs written by Choron and to songs by other composers that he included for examination in "Principes de composition." The analyses seek to determine if the rules set down in these treatises are indeed followed in Choron's compositional practice and in that of his contemporaries A useful feature of "Manuel complet de musique" is its inclusion of a topical bibliography. Two of the bibliography's topics are "Composition vocale" and "Union de la musique avec la poesie et le langage." The entries provided in each section are examined to clarify their relevance to the rules for text-setting provided in Choron's treatises. The text-setting rules delineated by Choron and La Fage provide a glimpse into the special nature of French versification and the difficulties of setting French texts to music. Syllable durations are the primary consideration in Choron's text-setting rules, and this approach makes the transition from poetry to its musical setting a fairly fluid process. The method for analyzing French settings developed in this study could be usefully applied to music of different periods and to poetry in other European languages. Alexandre Etienne Choron (1771-1834), a French music historian, theorist, and pedagogue, included sections on text-setting in two of his large treatises, "Principes de composition des ecoles d'Italie" (1808) and "Manuel complet de musique" (1836-39), the latter edited and completed by his student and colleague, Adrien de La Fage (1801-1862). It appears that Choron's rules were intended for students to apply in the setting of French texts. Both of Choron's documents are examined for their text-setting rules; these rules are then codified into a comprehensive list of rules, the more objective of which are used to create an analytical method that graphically portrays poetic and musical considerations in one display on the score. The analytical method is applied to songs written by Choron and to songs by other composers that he included for examination in "Principes de composition." The analyses seek to determine if the rules set down in these treatises are indeed followed in Choron's compositional practice and in that of his contemporaries A useful feature of "Manuel complet de musique" is its inclusion of a topical bibliography. Two of the bibliography's topics are "Composition vocale" and "Union de la musique avec la poesie et le langage." The entries provided in each section are examined to clarify their relevance to the rules for text-setting provided in Choron's treatises. The text-setting rules delineated by Choron and La Fage provide a glimpse into the special nature of French versification and the difficulties of setting French texts to music. Syllable durations are the primary consideration in Choron's text-setting rules, and this approach makes the transition from poetry to its musical setting a fairly fluid process. The method for analyzing French settings developed in this study could be usefully applied to music of different periods and to poetry in other European languages.
Bibliographical Information:

Advisor:

School:The Ohio State University

School Location:USA - Ohio

Source Type:Master's Thesis

Keywords:text setting choron alexandre etienne la fage adrien de

ISBN:

Date of Publication:01/01/2003

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