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News 2016: (US) Unquiet Thoughts Blog: "Saturday morning quotes 5.39: Airs de cour" (13 Feb 2016)

Contributed by admin on Feb 14, 2016 - 05:00 AM

"The term, airs de cour, describes four- or five-part polyphonic songs extracted from extravagant spectacles of music and dance staged at the French royal court, known as ballets de cour.

Not unlike more modern songs drawn from popular musicals by Gershwin or Kern and published with piano accompaniment, evocative French airs were arranged and published for domestic use in the then standard performance format of solo voice and lute, enabling the less illustrious members of the public to indulge in the latest hit tunes whistled by those in the royal court. ...

While the genre reached its peak of popularity around 1620, Adrian LeRoy’s, Livre d’air de cours miz sur le luth par Adrian Le Roy (Paris, 1571) is acknowledged as the first publication of airs for voice and lute.  LeRoy’s settings favored the poetry of Ronsard and his polyphonic accompaniments for the lute were creatively rhythmic and demonstrated an early example of the arpeggiated style, much later designated style brisé by 20th-century musicologists.  ..."

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