Jehan Chardavoine

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Born: February 2, 1538 Died: 1580
Frenchman Jehan Chardavoine was a lawyer, music editor, and composer who lived in Paris in the sixteenth century. The large collection of chansons he published in 1575, having been granted royal privilege to do so in 1573, is made up of simple monophonic songs called voix de ville -- or voices of the city -- origin of the word vaudeville. In his own words, they are "common tunes that might be sung or played anywhere." His aim in publishing the collection seems to have been partly ethnographic, like Bartók's collecting of Hungarian folk songs in the countryside, and partly careerist in that he wished to reach out to a public presumably ignored by most of the musical establishment, except as a source of melody to pillage. It contained 186 settings of strophic poems, some were merely collected and edited by Chardavoine and others were his own adaptations of earlier polyphonic settings of the same poem by composers such as Arcadelt, Certon, and Pierre Cléreau. In most cases, he transformed the source music far enough that he created a totally new piece.

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