Bacilly [Basilly, Bassilly], Bénigne de
- Austin B. Caswell
(b ?Normandy, ?1625; d Paris, Sept 27, 1690). French singing teacher and composer. He may have been a priest. He lived for most of his life in Paris but he was also in the service of Charles of Lorraine, Duke of Elbeuf. Although he was important as a composer and teacher, Bacilly’s most valuable legacy is the vocal treatise Remarques curieuses sur l’art de bien chanter, which has for long been recognized as one of the most detailed sources of information on French 17th-century vocal practice. However, until the publication of an English translation with the examples included, the application of its precepts to vocal performance had been virtually impossible since the examples Bacilly used to illustrate his teachings were not included in the text (he simply referred instead to specific passages in published volumes of airs de cour). The importance of the Remarques lies in two main areas: it is one of the earliest volumes to give specific descriptions and applications of the expressive melodic figures (...