Born in the year 1668 in Paris, Francois Couperin is recognized as one of the greatest music geniuses of his time. He was ushered into the world of music at the tender age of ten, when, after his father’s unexpected demise, Couperin followed his footsteps. There was little doubt that he had a great musical innovation which was highly praised by those who listened to his music. He became a court organist in the year 1693 and consequently got a job in Versailles (Savall, 2005).
His musical genius apart, Couperin faced challenges managing time and schedule since he was concurrently working on a job in Versailles and was training on the Organ instrument at the same time, which was a challenge he successfully passed. . His first priority and objective was to work on several musical pieces of his own. He produced most of his pieces after the production of his co-workers. The most interesting thing about him was the fact that he did all his writing and music differently from his colleagues (Savall, 2005).
Couperin was greatly admired among the Italians for his dedication to his people and nation. On the other hand, he gained great respect and love among the French since he was good at playing their classical music. He demonstrated maturity and proved to his people that one could produce a masterpiece in music by embracing two different cultures (Savall, 2005).
Couperin’s music style was mainly classical music. After an extensive research and analysis on this genre of music, Couperin concluded that it was best if music styles from different cultures were to be combined. The outcome of the integration was not only exquisite musical masterpiece but was also loved and appreciated by lovers of music all over the world (Gillespie, 1965).
His music turned out to be a masterpiece because of the way he grouped his music into orders. His greatest concern was to ensure an excellent performance emanating from his music. His publication of L’art de toucher le clavecin in 1716 was to reveal the meaning of fingering, while playing music. Moreover, he wished to explain the significance of the ornaments he used, along with the rhythms. The eight preambles served a useful purpose of introducing all the eight orders of his first two books. He wrote a manuscript treatise whose intention was to juxtapose the guidelines on how to treat dissonance and to understand figured bass (Savall, 2005).
Nevertheless, people love his work is because of his efforts to combine Italian and French styles of music. The cocktail of a musical genre offered by Couperin brings high impact to the concert halls, and the connoisseurs’ of music are enamoured with this blend. His compilation in the book Apotheose De Corelli offers a variety of shows appropriately entitled in both French and Italian. They are entitled such that it becomes so difficult to differentiate based on the rhythms (Savall, 2005).
The year 1726 marked a point in which he did more demonstration on the combination of Italian and French classical music to produce best sounds and rhythms in music. His work beautifully weaved suites for bass viols; a rare mix of French and Italian styles. At the end of his work, he advocated for coming up with a more united genre of classical music (Gillespie, 1965).
In conclusion, the life and works of Couperin demonstrate the beauty of diversity; he uses the difference in the music of two cultures and combines these beautiful differences to come up with a mixture that is appealing to everyone. This is a great lesson to people who consider the difference in ways of life as a weakness, instead of strength.
Some of the pieces of his musical work can be accessed at:
These music have a blend of beautiful lyric and nice video.
Gillespie, J.(1965). Five centuries of keyboard music: An historical survey of music for harpsichord and piano. New
York NY: Dover Publications, Inc.
Savall, J. (2005), erançoiscouperin: les concertsroyaux (CD liner notes), alia vox, AV9840, “couperinest le musicien-poète par excellence, quicroit en la capacité de la”.
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