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‘Playing’, ‘sonner’, ‘touching’ a historical French taxonomy and dualist of musical gestures

Article

French

ID: <10670/1.litscy>

Abstract

In the 17th century, a flourishing era of academy, appeared among ‘savoury’ musicians a whole of anti-routine terminology, particularly around gestuality, this new vocabulary aimed at creating two distinct and opposing classes of musical gestures, those behind a musical game and a savoury and noble art (in the aesthetic and social sense) and those which are at the origin of a production which, at that time, is no longer called ‘music’. To refer to the instrumental game, the Jouer/Sonner/Toucher verbes are then used, the first two being applied to menetrists, the third characterising the delicate and noble play of the tastes of keyboard or pinched rope instruments. That said, this aesthetic duality has a high degree of precedence, and the instrumental classification of the upper and lower instruments, which appears by age and in force throughout the baroque era, seems to me to be the best marker, not only from a organological and musical point of view, but also from a social, cultural and religious point of view. This great metaphorical stability, transhistoral, explains that the verb Sonner still stands for the instrumental game of traditional popular musicians with the most audible instruments.

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