Courses available in French




French 174: Music and Literature


See Description.

Course Description:
This course examines various ways in which French composers have set the French language to music, with specific attention to the unique musical solutions they came up with. Topics covered include: classical vers mesur√©s; French responses to Protestant metrical psalmody; sixteenth- and seventeenth-century airs de cour; the development of French opera in the reign of Louis XIV; the emergence of women song composers in Paris (1650-1730) and the question of how these songs articulate a different artistic voice from songs written by men; French resistance to Italian dominance in musical styles in the early eighteenth century, leading to Fran√ßois Couperin’s Les Go√Ľts-R√©√ľnis (1724).

Knowledge of music or an ability to read musical notation are not required. More important is the ability to listen carefully to music and to think about the relation between the sounds and rhythms of the words and the sounds and rhythms of the notes, leading to an understanding of how musicians could draw inspiration from the nature of French prosody and poetry, and how their music could amplify the rhetoric of declamation.

The course is also open to Music Majors who have a basic understanding of French. The readings will be in both French and English.


For students in French major or French minor intending to write their essays in French:¬† French 102 or consent of instructor.¬† No prerequisites for students taking the course as an “Outside Elective” in the French major, or for students taking course for general interest.

Additional information:

The readings will be in both French and English.¬†¬† Lectures and discussion will be in English.¬† Knowledge of music or an ability to read musical notation are not required.¬† This course satisfies 1¬†“Culture” or¬†1 “Elective”¬†course requirement in the French major or French¬†minor ¬†if written work is done in French.¬†¬†If written work is done in English, this course can satisfy 1 “Outside Elective” course requirement in the French major, with prior approval of French Undergraduate Major Adviser; satisfies one Historical Period requirement in French major.

Satisfies College of Letters and Science breadth in Arts and Literature.   Priority enrollment for declared French majors.

Section times and locations in the Schedule of Classes