Sign in or register
for additional privileges

Organs of the Soul:

Sonic Networks in Eighteenth-Century Paris

Rebecca Geoffroy-Schwinden, Author

You appear to be using an older verion of Internet Explorer. For the best experience please upgrade your IE version or switch to a another web browser.

"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.  
Comment on this page

Discussion of "'Réveillez-vous, belle dormeuse'"

Add your voice to this discussion.

Checking your signed in status ...

Previous page on path Music, page 5 of 10 Next page on path