Course Details

FREN 353: The French Chanson

In Beaumarchais’s oft-cited words, “Everything ends with songs.” This course will study the distinctiveness of French chanson (song) and its unique role in French history and culture from Montmartre’s cafés-concerts to the present. We will examine iconic performances in Parisian cabarets, music halls, and nightclubs; the rise of the singer-songwriter; the changing dynamics between lyrics (poetry), music, and performance over time; song categories such as yé-yé, the protest song, and the chanson about Paris; rap and slam’s poetic affiliation with chanson; musical hybridity and identity politics; and the clout of the music industry. No musical experience necessary. Conducted in French. Prerequisite: One French course beyond French 204 or instructor permission
6 credits; LA, IS; Offered Spring 2022; É. Pósfay