Music and the Language of Love (Hardcover)

Seventeenth-Century French Airs (Music and the Early Modern Imagination)

By Catherine Gordon-Seifert

Indiana University Press, 9780253354617, 390pp.

Publication Date: April 7, 2011

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Simple songs or airs, in which a male poetic voice either seduces or excoriates a female object, were an influential vocal genre of the French Baroque era. In this comprehensive and interdisciplinary study, Catherine Gordon-Seifert analyzes the style of airs, which was based on rhetorical devices of lyric poetry, and explores the function and meaning of airs in French society, particularly the salons. She shows how airs deployed in both text and music an encoded language that was in sensuous contrast to polite society's cultivation of chaste love, strict gender roles, and restrained discourse.

About the Author

Catherine Gordon-Seifert is Professor of Music and Chair of the Music Department at Providence College.