Canons, airs sérieux and airs à boire : a study of the contribution of the eighteenth century French composer and copyist C. de La Serre

Thumbnail Image
Open Access Location
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Massey University
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.
C. de La Serre, French songs, Serious airs (Music), Drinking songs, France, 18th century music