Music of the France
France has a rich cultural tradition. It is the birthplace of several artistic and social movements and is home to a diverse musical tradition. If you’ve listened to the opera Carmen, a song by Édith Piaf, or a bagpiper’s band from Brittany, you’ve heard a bit of France’s rich musical repertoire.
French music refers to the traditional, folk, and contemporary music genres that have developed in France. These range from medieval classical music to contemporary street hip-hop and include famous genres like chanson and influential composers such as Georges Bizet.
Other French-speaking areas like Quebec, some African nations, islands of the Pacific and neighbouring Belgium, Switzerland and Luxembourg also produce music in French. However, despite some common grounds, there are significant cultural and historical differences. So when they are grouped together with the music of France, they are commonly referred to as francophone music.
French classical music first gained popularity among the nobility and wealthy families. It was, however, during the Romantic era of the 19th century, when this genre gained much more exposure. Great composers of the time created famous pieces that gained international recognition and are still admired. Maurice Ravel and Claude Debussy were some of them.
Beautiful theatres were built in Paris and other major cities to house opera performances. During the 19th century, French opera gained international recognition and great composers like Georges Bizet created masterpieces that are still appreciated worldwide. Carmen is among his best-known pieces.
In the last decades of the 20th century, Breton music regained popularity, and folk music became very popular in regional festivals and celebrations. Most towns and villages have local bagads, or pipe bands who perform folk music.
Corsican folk music often features choral singing in a style known as polyphony. It combines several melodies that are sung at the same time by the different performers. Folk music is present on many occasions, especially in religious services like processions and funerals.
Édith Piaf is among the most important French chanson singers of the 20th century. Some of her famous songs are La Vie en Rose (The Pink Life) and Non, Je ne regrette rien (No, I don’t regret anything). More than 50 years after her death, her music continues to be heard, her voice still inspires many people, and she is remembered with admiration and esteem.
There is perhaps no national cuisine more venerated than that of France, and no French region more famous for its culinary prowess than the southeast. Here, the warm sun of the Mediterranean meets French savoir faire…
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