La Vie Musicale En Nouvelle-France

By Paul, Hélène | Notes, December 2005 | Go to article overview

La Vie Musicale En Nouvelle-France

Paul, Hélène, Notes

La vie musicale en Nouvelle-France. By Élisabeth Gallat-Morin and Jean-Pierre Pinson, with the collaboration of Paul-André Dubois, Conrad Laforte and Eric Schwandt. Rédaction des encarts et recherche iconographique: François Filiatrault. Montréal: Septentrion, Cahiers des Amériques, 2003. (Collection "Musique.") [578 p. ISBN 2-89448-350-3. $42.95 Can.] Music examples, illustrations, tables, bibliography, discography, index, appendices.

The publication of La vie musicale en Nouvelle France marks an important date for musicology in Québec. In fact, this substantial book fills a serious lacuna in the history of music in Canada and in Québec. If the specialized work of the explorers in this area such as Helmut Kallmann, A History of Music in Canada, 1534-1914 (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1960); Andrée Desautels, "Les trois âges de la musique au Canada-le premier âge: la Nouvelle-France au XVII^sup e^ et au XVIII^sup e^ siècle" (in La musique, les homes, les instruments, les oeuvres . . ., 2 vols. ed. Norbert Dufourcq [Paris: Larousse, 1965]: 2:314-22); Willy Amtmann, La musique au Québec, 1600-1875 (Montréal: Les Éditions de l'homme, 1976), and an enlarged version of Music in Canada, 1600-1800 (Montréal: Habitex Books, 1975); Helmut Kallmann, Gilles Potvin, eds. Encyclopedia of Music in Canada, 2d ed. (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1993), as much as that of ethnologists and folklorists Ernest Gagnon, Chansons populaires du Canada (Québec: Bureaux du "Foyer canadien," 1865); and Edouard-Zotique Massicotte and Marius Barbeau, "Chants populaires du Canada" (Journal of American Folklore 32, no. 123 [January-March 1919]: 1-89) have contributed to revealing the existence of a musical life in New France, no exhaustive research encompassing historical, sociological, ideological, institutional, and musicological aspects of the period between the founding of Québec (1608) and the Treaty of Paris (1763) has been undertaken, much less completed. The result of almost twenty years of research, the present study answers many questions and from now on will serve as a reference on the subject, putting an end to the long held belief in the absence of significant musical activities in New France. The area under French rule was large, and the authors have chosen to limit their work to "the ecclesiastical, civil, and military center of New France, that is the Saint Lawrence valley, what is today Rimouski, up to Montreal and through to Québec and Trois-Rivières" (pp. 17-18). Even Acadia, Louisiana, and New England receive coverage.

The present work, written with erudition and great scholarly rigor, is distinguished as much by the number and diversity of the sources used-French and local, printed and manuscript-as by the way the materials are collated, scrutinized, analyzed, and discussed. The process has permitted the establishment of facts and the correction of errors and legends, but has also given birth to additional questions due to the greater perspective on both religious and secular music. Quantitatively and qualitatively, the critical apparatus shows the honesty, weight, and quality of the musicological approach. Ninety-seven illustrations and music examples, and biographical side bars relating to the life of French composers with any influence or link to New France (edited by François Filiatrault), along with an ample number of tables are inserted into the dense and detailed text, regularly relieved by picturesque descriptions of events of contemporary life. The epistolary remarks of Elisabeth Bégon, "a sort of Montreal Madame de Sévigné" (p. 295) are the most lively. In December of 1748 she writes, for example, "today the news is that everyone is learning to dance" (p. 296), to the great despair of the members of the clergy who strongly denounced such gatherings, dances, and parties and "all of these lustful songs that only lead to shameful pleasures . . . quarrels and disgraceful illnesses" (p. 298).

The variety of musical life in France serves as a backdrop to the book, which is divided into two parts dedicated respectively to religious music (seven chapters) and music in society (five chapters). …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Cite this article

Cited article

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)


1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25,

Cited article

La Vie Musicale En Nouvelle-France


Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25,

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.