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Catherine Elizabeth Gordon
Providence College (Providence, RI 02918-7000)
Music and the Language of Love in 17th-Century French Airs, 1650-1700

This interdisciplinary study of seventeenth-century French songs explores their function and meaning in private and public spheres of society by focusing on airs as representations of love. In Parisian salons, airs were composed as imitations of impassioned recitation, filled with an encoded erotic language, and linked to intrigue and games of wit. By contrast, airs were used outside elite salons for seduction, to foster gender roles or promote religious devotion. This study demonstrates that the power of song was thought to control states of mind, behavior, and social order, and shows that over time, airs reflect changes in attitudes towards gender stereotypes, relationships, and a woman’s place in late seventeenth-century France.

[Grant products]

Project fields:
Music History and Criticism

Fellowships for College Teachers and Independent Scholars

Research Programs

$24,000 (approved)
$24,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
7/1/2007 – 12/31/2007