C. de La Serre was a composer, copyist and maître de musique. His known
compositions are all airs sérieux and airs à boire, appearing in printed sources and
manuscripts between 1716 and 1724. His individual collection, Recueil d’airs
nouveaux sérieux et à boire (1724) provides the most complete picture of his
achievements as a composer, as it exhibits the largest number of his songs in a single
volume. Another side of La Serre’s musical activity is also considered in the present
study, as it includes the examination of selections from the manuscript F-CECm/Ms.
282, of which he was the copyist. The distinguishing characteristic of this
manuscript is its collection of canons, which may be the largest of its kind. La
Serre’s own music is included in F-CECm/Ms. 282, along with airs by composers
such as Jean-Baptiste de Bousset, François Couperin and Jean-Philippe Rameau.
This thesis places canons, airs sérieux and airs à boire composed by La Serre and
other prominent songwriters of the period within the social context of the French
Regency, and the context of the genres at the beginning of the eighteenth century.
The conventions of verse and music are also considered in relation to specific airs of
the printed collection and the manuscript. A catalogue of La Serre’s Recueil d’airs
nouveaux sérieux et à boire and the edited selections of F-CECm/Ms. 282 is also
included. Volume II comprises a critical edition of La Serre’s 1724 collection and
selections from the manuscript.