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date: 12 May 2021

Chanson (Fr.: ‘song’)locked

  • Nigel Wilkins
  • , revised by David Fallows,
  • Howard Mayer Brown
  •  and Richard Freedman


(Fr.: ‘song’)

Any lyric composition set to French words; more specifically, a French polyphonic song of the late Middle Ages and Renaissance. In a general sense the word ‘chanson’ refers to a wide variety of compositions: the monophonic songs of the Middle Ages ( see Troubadours, trouvères ); court songs of the late 16th and 17th centuries ( see Air de cour ); popular songs of the streets, cafés and music halls in the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries ( see Chanson pour boire; Vaudeville; Pastourelle; Bergerette; Brunette ); art songs of the 19th and 20th centuries ( Mélodie ); as well as to folksongs (‘chanson populaire’ or ‘chant folklorique’). The term is sometimes used in its more specific sense to refer only to those 15th- and 16th-century polyphonic songs that do not set poems in one of the formes fixes ( see Rondeau (i); Virelai; Ballade ), but in this article it is taken in a somewhat broader context to mean any polyphonic song with French text written from about the time of Machaut to the end of the 16th century....

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