France has always been known for its taste in fine arts, especially in theatre and music. Since the days of the French intellectual revolution, music has become an integral part of the culture of France. Movies of that period were quite musical and that great tradition has been carried on till today.
Music in France – the origin and Influence
Music in France has very interesting history. It has even been influenced by aboriginal music and sounds as well! Sounds weird, right? France has always been good at accepting intellectuals and culturally rich tribes and people from all over the world. Over the years, this has formed the very basic structure of French music. In case, one is really into world music, they will find some resemblance from Latin America, Asia and even African sounds in French music! That is truly a rich and diverse form of French Music.
Modern day France though has slightly shifted from the folk and classical versions of the same and has brought some pop and hip-hop French style beats into the culture. Yet, the real music of France resides in the classical and folk music.
French Classical and Folk Music
Purists attribute the beginning of French classical music from the sacred tunes of the Roman Catholic Church. History has it that the world famous French opera was first identified as classical music in the year 1646 – performed in Carpentras. That was also the beginning of the French Opera! The great French musicians were also adept at composing ballads and songs of love that has this ‘classical’ touch in them. Though they experimented with the classical fusion music by adding some ingredients of the folk music, purists preferred to stay with the original classical form which eventually became popular throughout the world!
The 19th century in France is heralded as the romantic era in the history of French music owing to the lot of passionate and romantic films released in that period. In the later half of the 20th century, some outstanding foreign composers had a major impact on France’s romantic era and that transformed the classical romantic era of music in France like no other.
Though, there are folk musicians in modern France, they have been sidelined to the mountainous region or even Corsica. You can on request find shows in Paris that cater to the tourists when they demand some folk music. All in all, modern French music still takes inspiration from the folk tunes! The most apparent usage of folk music is seen in the techno beats where the mixers take some part of the original French folk music, add some fusion beats and come out with a very hip hop kind of tune! Western France and the island of Corsica have been the major torch bearers of folk music and dance in France.
Moving over to the French classical music again, it bears close resemblance to Indian and Japanese classical and traditional music (read: notations) respectively. It is considered to be a less followed path but a more soul stirring music and hence is renowned, the world over. French music is really something to enjoy and cherish, especially if you have grown tired of loud music!