Welcome to our forum. A Message To Our New and Prospective Members . Check out our Forum Rules. Lets keep this forum an enjoyable place to visit.

A A A
Avatar
Please consider registering
guest
sp_LogInOut Log In sp_Registration Register
Register | Lost password?
Advanced Search
Forum Scope




Match



Forum Options



Minimum search word length is 3 characters - maximum search word length is 84 characters
sp_Feed Topic RSS sp_TopicIcon
Haunting Music From French Composers
The perfect mood...
Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 (9 votes) 
Avatar
ELCBK
USA
Members

Regulars
September 23, 2021 - 11:46 pm
Member Since: June 10, 2020
Forum Posts: 4675
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

October is just around the corner, so Halloween music is on my mind again! 

Erik Satie has some haunting compositions that make him my new favorite for the occasion.  I had read he was an eccentric, but just discovered how much of one - certainly not a boring character! 

Erik Satie | History's Weirdest and Most Eccentric Musician

 

Here's from my post in the 'Time Signatures' thread - about Gnossienne no.1 for Violin. 

'Common' Time = 4/4, 'Cut' Time = 2/2, but what about 'Free' Time? 

Warning!: Nearing Halloween! 

Erik Satie, the French Composer, coined the term "Gnossiennes" for his hauntingly beautiful Piano pieces that were 'free' of Time Signatures and bar divisions.  They were experimental in form, rhythm and chordal Structure. (Wikipedia) 

I LOVE this Violin version of the 1st Gnossienne, performed by Anna KonoplyovaFive minutes long.

Gnossienne No. 1 - Erik Satie (violin version)

Here you can see exactly what is on the sheet music, even though it has NO time signature or bar divisions!  I'm just assuming this is in Fm.

Erik Satie - Gnossienne n°1 (Video Score)

 

AND, because Halloween will be here before you know it, one more version described as: "Satie's introspection meets Deconstructivist irony.  Here is the most ethereal, contrite and disturbing version of Gnossienne you can imagine..." 

Gnossienne n°1 (Satie) - Decostruttori Postmodernisti

 

This is my favorite VIOLA version of Gnossienne no.3, performed by Grigory Tsyganov!

Erik Satie. Gnossienne no.3 for viola and harp

A CELLO version of No.2, performed by Steven Honigberg.

Erik Satie Gnossienne No. 2 for cello and piano

 

 

- Emily

Avatar
ELCBK
USA
Members

Regulars
September 24, 2021 - 12:35 am
Member Since: June 10, 2020
Forum Posts: 4675
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

Yann Tiersen, is a French multi-instrumentalist & composer of music that's perfect for Halloween! 

Music from 3 of his albums were used in the film, "Le Fabuleux Destin d'Amélie Poulain" (Amélie).  Some haunting melodies!

Yann Tiersen - L'Homme aux bras ballants (Nuits de Fourvières 2002)

According to the comments, the member in the back is using a "Ondes Martenot" (similar to a theramin?) in this next Tiersen video.

Yann Tiersen - L'Horloge

Another haunting Tiersen example, some Counterpoint, maybe modulation? 

Yann Tiersen ~ Hanako

 

I've mentioned Cecile Corbel, from Brittany, a few times.  Her songs can be haunting and they just beckon for Violin, Viola & Cello to join in - so I've included a few, here. 

Like some of the composers, she has an uncanny way of making me feel like I might have just had a horrific day, but I should be happy, it could always be worse. (lol) 

C'est la vie!

...so, shrug your shoulders & lighten your step!

Cecile Corbel - La Fille Damnee

Cecile Corbel - La Fiancée

Cecile Corbel - Neige (Snow)

I'm sure you'll find it's usually pretty easy to pick out the main notes of Cecile's melodies - to play along. 

 

 

 

...haunting!

- Emily

Avatar
Gordon Shumway
London, England
King
Members

Regulars
September 24, 2021 - 8:48 am
Member Since: August 1, 2016
Forum Posts: 2018
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

Well, the classic, and coincidentally also French, is probably Saint-Saëns' danse macabre. Its always worth being able to play the theme from that one.

Andrew

Avatar
ELCBK
USA
Members

Regulars
October 5, 2021 - 7:28 am
Member Since: June 10, 2020
Forum Posts: 4675
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

Danse Macabre IS a Classic for Halloween, but Halloween is only a few weeks away! 

I think I would probably need to start learning it now, for next year - I just don't have the ambition for that, yet. 🤔 ...but, maybe a phrase or 2 might be doable (for me).

I do seem to be drawn back to Yann Tiersen's music.  Really liking "L'Homme aux bras ballants".  I'll have to try it today, to make sure it's the melody - not just the pipes I'm liking. (lol) 

 

Aah! ...the perfect tempo!

I just might have to extend my Halloween to Thanksgiving, if I get too carried away with all this great music I've found in all Genres! 

- Emily

Avatar
ELCBK
USA
Members

Regulars
November 3, 2021 - 5:06 pm
Member Since: June 10, 2020
Forum Posts: 4675
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

The Sun was out this morning, then disappeared - so I'm back in the mood for haunting, melancholy music. 

Cello & Violin!

Quattro Corde Art Group plays Yann Tiersen's, "La Noyee". 

 

Here's more Yann Tiersen, "Esther" - notice the 5 strings?   

Love to hear this all violin, so I might have to learn this one! 

 

 

 

...guess I just need an attitude adjustment.

- Emily

Avatar
wtw
Members

Regulars
November 4, 2021 - 6:44 pm
Member Since: November 10, 2018
Forum Posts: 251
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

@elcbk thanks for the link about Satie. I appreciate (some of) his piano works, but knew nothing about the man 😉.

Tiersen is nice too - but I can't help thinking La noyée would sound better on viola 😇.

Avatar
ELCBK
USA
Members

Regulars
November 4, 2021 - 8:29 pm
Member Since: June 10, 2020
Forum Posts: 4675
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

@wtw -

🤭 I always think that!  It's why I LOVE my 5 string fiddle. 

My new 5 string VIOLA might be ready the end of this month - waiting to see if a good carbon composite bridge can be made!  

I need to learn some of these  - I already play many pieces by Cecile Corbel. 

 

https://cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/2966/4646/products/Glasser_5_string_viola_2_1024x.jpg?v=1556115096

 

Are you thinking of trying La noyée

- Emily

Avatar
Gordon Shumway
London, England
King
Members

Regulars
November 5, 2021 - 5:46 am
Member Since: August 1, 2016
Forum Posts: 2018
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

There are curious harmonic progressions that you only get in modern French music as heard mostly in movies. By modern, I don't mean Satie, I mean stuff from the last 40 years (i.e. Tiersen, after thinking about it, and bal-musette probably). I have wondered about finding out about it - if there is any theory behind it, but I wouldn't know where to start.

This is a place to start, at least: -

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/.....ular_music

But doesn't include any theory.

Books like this may be good, but are more likely to be arid and wide of the mark and are expensive to boot: -

https://www.routledge.com/Made.....0367869779

Andrew

Avatar
ELCBK
USA
Members

Regulars
November 5, 2021 - 7:54 am
Member Since: June 10, 2020
Forum Posts: 4675
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

@Gordon Shumway -

Interesting angle and links - worthy of it's own thread... maybe after Fiddle Hell I can find out more. 😊

Avatar
wtw
Members

Regulars
November 5, 2021 - 9:03 am
Member Since: November 10, 2018
Forum Posts: 251
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
10sp_Permalink sp_Print
5

Yes, I'll try it. In fact I've already tried it but it was quite some time ago (I have the CD soundtrack of the movie it's from). First I need to find a nice piano accompaniment though.

Avatar
wtw
Members

Regulars
November 14, 2021 - 5:43 pm
Member Since: November 10, 2018
Forum Posts: 251
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

Okay, I had a go at it just for fun  :

*link removed*

Intonation is off, never mind… still was fun. And the original is faster. Never mind that "la noyée" means "the drowned girl" too, this music has nothing to do with drowning, at least to my ears…

Avatar
ELCBK
USA
Members

Regulars
November 14, 2021 - 6:51 pm
Member Since: June 10, 2020
Forum Posts: 4675
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

@wtw -

That was VERY BEAUTIFUL! 

I agree with you, "La Noyee" sounds much better on the Viola. 

Please keep your video up - it's very inspirational! 

Don't be so hard on yourself. 

Just had a big discussion at a Fiddle Hell Workshop, about how long it takes

to really learn a piece of music - 6 WEEKS! 

PERFECT music for this time of the year!

I really appreciate that you shared this. 

THANK YOU! 

 

...I need to try "Esther". 

- Emily

Avatar
ABitRusty
Members

Regulars
November 14, 2021 - 6:59 pm
Member Since: February 10, 2019
Forum Posts: 2526
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
13sp_Permalink sp_Print
5

wonderful @wtw !  really enjoyed watching.  

Avatar
JohnG
Greater Chicagoland
Members

Regulars
November 14, 2021 - 11:43 pm
Member Since: April 16, 2021
Forum Posts: 1312
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
14sp_Permalink sp_Print
5

@wtw - Really nice piece and rendition. Thanks for sharing!

The old curmudgeon!

Avatar
wtw
Members

Regulars
November 16, 2021 - 6:32 am
Member Since: November 10, 2018
Forum Posts: 251
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

Thanks guys. I'm stagnating a bit with my viola currently, motivation is rather low, so encouragement always helps !

Avatar
Mark
Members

Regulars
November 16, 2021 - 7:52 am
Member Since: September 30, 2014
Forum Posts: 1654
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
16sp_Permalink sp_Print
5

wtw

Thank you for sharing, enjoyed listing to your playing.

 

Mark

Master the Frog and you have mastered the bow.

Albert Sammons

Avatar
ELCBK
USA
Members

Regulars
November 17, 2021 - 4:04 am
Member Since: June 10, 2020
Forum Posts: 4675
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

Gordon Shumway said

There are curious harmonic progressions that you only get in modern French music as heard mostly in movies. By modern, I don't mean Satie, I mean stuff from the last 40 years (i.e. Tiersen, after thinking about it, and bal-musette probably). I have wondered about finding out about it - if there is any theory behind it, but I wouldn't know where to start.

This is a place to start, at least: -

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/.....ular_music

But doesn't include any theory. 

@Gordon Shumway -

I looked closer at your link & idea - so here's some of my personal observations, but you may need to give me specific examples to help me understand better.

I've only just started down the rabbit hole, hoping I understand what you are talking about, but think this might be a revival, stretching back to much earlier than 40 years.

So, roots...

There were 3 types of Bal-musette music/dancing establishments by 1900 - one considered seedy/bohemian.  Through WWI and the roaring 20's, people with money were traveling - looking for livelier entertainment in smaller, more intimate surroundings and types of more sensual dancing developed.  Bal-musette continued to become increasingly popular, hitting it's highest popularity at the end of  WWII.  Wikipedia also says Gypsy Jazz drew on Bal-musette styles, too - understandable. 

The music started with predominately bagpipes - and hurdy-gurdies have been around since the Middle Ages.  Then, Italian immigrants introduced the accordion - especially noted in the Auvergne region. 

To me there IS something VERY different in the feeling of music like Yann Tierson's.  Maybe like you said (harmonic progressions), or the structure.  I am definitely drawn to it. 

Interesting to find this in Traditional Folk music.  You can start to hear what I think we're talking about, in this video of Folk dancing samples of Auvergne.   One place - Starting at 1:17 - approximately 1 minute long (with close dancing) before jumping to another dance type! 

 

Did you check out any of the music in this thread?  This is where I get the same feeling - French Mazurkas & Valses. 

French Accordéon Diatonique Music for the Fiddle

A fairly recent tune by Cecile Corbel - hearing elements HERE. 

Valse sur un Banc

Did you ever see the 1995 film, "The City of Lost Children" (La Cité des Enfants Perdus)? 

It's a French fantasy film (also available in English) - great because of the music.  Angelo Badalamenti (US) hit the mood 'spot on' with the score he composed. 

Here's Track #10 from it.  If you can get past the 1st minute where the organ sounds a bit Carnival-like, the strings take over. 

THIS may be a place we can START LOOKING AT. 

10. Angelo Badalamenti - L'execution (The City of Lost Children OST)

When I think of 'Bohemian', I also think of 'Gypsies' (and Artists 🤣), whether Romani or other Euopean/Eastern European people - maybe traveling minstrels?  I haven't been able to check & see if their Folk music had any influence on any of this.

Before I look closer, Am I WAY off here?

 

https://i.pinimg.com/originals/a4/c5/fd/a4c5fdee14fe1fc36b81a519e2495a7b.jpg

 

...now, I want to know the origin of creepy/melancholic Carnival Music! 

- Emily

Avatar
Gordon Shumway
London, England
King
Members

Regulars
November 17, 2021 - 5:52 am
Member Since: August 1, 2016
Forum Posts: 2018
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

ELCBK said

you may need to give me specific examples .

To me there IS something VERY different in the feeling of music like Yann Tierson's.  Maybe like you said (harmonic progressions), or the structure.  I am definitely drawn to it. 

Did you ever see "The City of Lost Children" (La Cité des Enfants Perdus)? 

It's a French fantasy film (also available in English) - great because of the music 

I've got DVDs of most of these somewhere (Delicatessen was the first to start the bandwagon rolling, maybe Toto Le Héros, but Charles Trenet was the main musical content in that), but I haven't watched them for years, and may have taken some to charity shops (I only ever watched City of Lost Children once and have no idea what happened to that) - to me there's something a bit strained and tendentious and self-conscious about this kind of filmmaking.

I think basically the harmonies may just depend on semitone changes. Maybe on a squeezebox/melodeon all that is required is a shift up and down by one button?

Badalamenti is of course most famous for Twin Peaks, and I know nothing about his other work.

The business of an instrument capable of chords dictating their harmonies is perhaps common. Spanish (Arabic) guitar is similar in that you can play a chord such as E minor (022000), then move your left hand up a semitone to 033000 and you get something that Western music theory ties itself in knots to explain. But the problem is perhaps that Western music theory is entirely keyboard based and utterly partial.

Andrew

Avatar
ELCBK
USA
Members

Regulars
November 17, 2021 - 1:02 pm
Member Since: June 10, 2020
Forum Posts: 4675
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

@Gordon Shumway -

Also the same feeling to the music from "Amélie" (Le Fabuleux Destin d'Amélie Poulain) - haven't seen "Delicatessen", so I just read the synopsis and the Soundtrack is PERFECT for what we are discussing!  Carlos D'Alessio, was an Argentinian-born French Composer. (Wikipedia)

Delicatessen Soundtrack - Carlos D'alessio

Some of the melancholy Circus music feel in there, also.  So, maybe that along with the inherent tuning of the Diatonic Accordion?  

In "Wonderful Marie" (3rd Track) - Carlos has interesting, offset (staggered?) rhythms - while some other tracks from the film, "India Song", have more dark Circus/Carnival dissonance! 

Wonderful Marie - Carlos D'Alessio

Now, I read the synopsis & sampled some of the film, "Toto The Hero" (Toto le héros) - there's some Film Noir music feel in there, which I hadn't thought about. 

There's an article at JSTOR by Richard R. Ness "A Lotta Night Music: The Sound of Film Noir".  

Abstract: Just as 1940s noir films represented a challenge to the security of home and family, their musical scores defied the emphasis on tonality common in classical Hollywood scoring practices.  Scores for the nostalgic second noir cycle are characterized by tension between atonal techniques and the return of more melodic elements. 

To me, Film Noir music can be Dark, have some Jazz elements and some Cabaret style. 

At ALLMUSIC - they have a list for some classic Film Noir music and Cabaret Style music overview. 

Film Noir: 16 Classic Tracks from the Dark Side of the Movies

One of the Noir pieces listed is from, "The Elephant Man" - back to the creepy Carnival music! 

On the Cabaret Genre: 

As a musical style, Cabaret refers to two different aspects of music. The "nightclubs" were initially opened to provide a place for painters, writers, musicians, and other artists to gather, talk, perform, and experiment. The key to understanding cabaret as a style is that the music was all experimental. Avant-garde styles, which were often reactions to (or against) current trends and conventions, were formulated in the cabarets. Other styles include the music that was performed in the cabarets when these clubs received their repute for being associated with vice. Cabaret music was considered bawdy, vampish, rhythmic, and often lewd, with numerous lyrical double entendres. Melodic lines could be smooth and soft when that form of stimulation was wanted from (and for) the audience, but most of the time lines were memorable -- filled with motions and extended interval leaps. There were few soft curves to these musical phrases. Cabaret music was intended as an energized form of entertainment.

Diatonic Accordions  

They have 1 to 3 rows of buttons - each row is tuned to a specific key.  So, there are only limited chords available. 

La Malle aux Accordéons explains that accordions are tuned for Tremolo -  so intentionally having one or more reed sets de-tuned!

Tremolo: Voices tuned apart. 

Tremolo is the sound effect produced when two identical notes have a slightly different pitch.

If these two notes (voices) are tuned exactly the same, we will hear only one voice, with a sound volume twice as high and a slightly different tone.

If one of the two notes is tuned slightly higher or lower than the other, an acoustic vibration effect will be heard. This phenomenon is known as thetremolo effect.

As this effect depends solely on the tuning performed on the instrument, it is possible to modify the amount of tremolo on any given accordion.

I have also read of 'Spot' tuning - where all the reeds are just tuned close, but NOT perfectly in tune. 

At the Fort Bend County Accordion Club site it's noted: 

The most common French Musette tuning of the three middle (clarinet) reeds is:

Low       Middle    High
A=436     A=440     A441.5

 

So, there IS intentional, built-in, discourse here!

Maybe emphasized - which could explain some of what we hear. 

 

https://www.diato.org/img/diato1_demandez_autorisation_pour_utiliser_cette_image.jpg

 

...maybe along with the chosen key combinations (I haven't looked into, yet), but still wondering about the Circus/Carnival music connection. 

- Emily

Avatar
ELCBK
USA
Members

Regulars
November 18, 2021 - 6:09 am
Member Since: June 10, 2020
Forum Posts: 4675
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
Okay, found more sites that reinforce what I've posted. 

I'll quickly summarize my conclusion - pertaining to the origin of this wonderful French music! 

By the end of the 19th Century, Circuses were becoming such big entertainment that permanent buildings were constructed.  The beginning of the 20th Century saw the birth of "Circus Style Music" - unique Marches or "Screamers" and "Gallops". 

This new style of music was emotionally charged! 

More history, info on composition/usage and examples here:  

Circus Music - Wikipedia

 In Paris, "Cirque Fernando" (Cirque Medrano), was very close to the "Moulin Rouge" Cabaret!

"Cabarets" were also very popular places of entertainment - and Dark Cabaret Style music uses elements of Circus Music Style. 

Famous Impressionist Painters (and other Artists & Musicians) were drawn to all the excitement and Bohemian lifestyle surrounding this entertainment. 

The myth of the "Sad Clown" became embedded in Art and music.  

Why The Circus Fascinated Modern Artists - BBC Culture 

In 1900 in Paris, a new style of waltz emerged, the "Valse musette" an evolution of Bal-musette also known as "French Waltz". (Wikipedia) 

Characteristics of the inimate "Valse Musette" Dance Style, here: 

History of the bals musette (dances with accordion music)

Accordion was the preferred instrument for the "Valse musette" - the most common tuning for the 2-row, French Diatonic Accordion: 1 row in G & the other in C.  ...and we know some dissonance is built-in to the tuning.

To get a general idea of where the "Musette Style" of music and dance came from, I think we have to understand all of this was going on at the same, in Paris.

But, back to the original questioning of actual "Music Theory" involvement, I found a great site, dedicated to French Accordion Music, to email. 

Now, for violin! 

 

 

...so, I'll follow-up, later! 

- Emily

Forum Timezone: America/New_York
Most Users Ever Online: 696
Currently Online: Katie M
Guest(s) 67
Currently Browsing this Page:
1 Guest(s)
Members Birthdays
sp_BirthdayIcon
Today estudy, Mirrim9999
Upcoming freesbee, paulinefiddle, oneloudmime, MsJoy, augustoad, Ripton, Space., loveluach, husseinHr, reedc83, Guido, A. V. Suvorov, JiminTexas, mcwey, Fashionandfiddle
Top Posters:
ELCBK: 4675
Mad_Wed: 2849
Barry: 2680
Fiddlestix: 2647
ABitRusty: 2526
Oliver: 2439
DanielB: 2379
damfino: 2026
Gordon Shumway: 2018
Kevin M.: 1973
Member Stats:
Guest Posters: 3
Members: 31070
Moderators: 0
Admins: 7
Forum Stats:
Groups: 16
Forums: 79
Topics: 9803
Posts: 123420
Newest Members:
sheikspells2022
Administrators: Fiddlerman: 16028, KindaScratchy: 1759, coolpinkone: 4180, BillyG: 3741, MrsFiddlerman: 2, Jimmie Bjorling: 0, Mouse: 4034