GT PAP ILA Block 2
31 October 2017
Nobody Ever Thought About Music or Literature
When it comes to the French Revolution, many people’s thoughts will immediately jump
to the guillotine, a wicked device that has left a barbarous dent in France’s history. However, one
thing that most likely has not been thought about was the daily life of each estate during this
trying time. Something that was a constant in the lives of many people was music and literature,
an easily accessible source of entertainment and happiness. These entertainments had an
extremely strong presence, even after the French Revolution. These pleasures were relevant to
the French Revolution because of how the music was unique to its time period, how music
changed because of the revolution, and how literature and music left an impact on the world
The music that resulted from the French Revolution was unique and different than it was
previously. The French Revolution had brought the beginnings of the Romantic Era, an era
defined by the plentiful of emotions and feelings. Romantic music had evolved from eras before,
which was more uniform, a way to make money rather than express oneself (Romantic Music).
During the French Revolution, the precedent to the Romantic Era, “[p]eople were not interested
in ‘heavy’ music, and wanted light entertainment,” (Dickinson) which meant that musicians had
to play more uniform and entertaining music rather than the emotion that they wanted to express.
In former era such as the baroque and classical eras, music “ was often written for the church or
simply for entertainment” (Pullan). What had become the basis of Romantic music was
Beethoven’s description “that music was ‘a direct outpouring’ of a composer’s personality, his
individual triumphs and tragedies. This became a prevalent Romantic notion…” (Kaufmann).
This revolution also affected many aspects of music due to the extreme changes that were
happening with the government and economy. Before the French Revolution fll upon France,
musicians would make a living while aristocrats “ would employ a so-called ‘Kappelmeister’
who embodied a composer, a conductor, a performer and an organiser. They would be
commissioned to write pieces of music and perform for small gatherings or just for...