"Réveillez-vous, belle dormeuse"
In his recent book Poetry and the Police: Communication Networks in Eighteenth-Century Paris, Robert Darnton offers an online cabaret that shows the diverse iterations of various melodies in eighteenth-century Paris. You can hear Dr. Darnton discussing his book and methodology for sleuthing eighteenth-century oral culture in this lecture.
Darnton demonstrates how mid-century Parisians molded these tunes to fit evolving political commentary. In his first example, Darnton notes the traditional tune "Réveillez-vous, belle dormeuse" (interchangeable with "Réveillez-vous, belle endormie").
The tune remained popular during the Revolution, and makes an appearance in one of the many Arlequin vaudevilles, Arlequin friand (1793).
We find a similarly-named tune referenced in a sixteenth-century chansonnier. The noël, a song written specifically for the Christmas season, is titled "Réveillez-vous, cueurs endormis." Try to sing these sixteenth-century lyrics or the above Arlequin lyrics with the recordings of "Réveillez-vous" on Darnton's online cabaret or with an early twentieth-century version of the song found on Gallica. This exercise will help you to understand how orally-transmitted music changes over time and space, sometimes to the point of becoming unrecognizable.
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