An Analytical study for pedagogical purposes of French-Canadian folks songs as collected by Marius Barbeau

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The purposes of this study were: (1) to examine the Barbeau collections of French-Canadian folk songs and to do an initial musical analysis; (2) to compile from the Barbeau collections a body of French Canadian f o 1 k songs suitable for use in teaching e1ementary c1assroom music; (3) to do a further analysis of the selected songs to determine, through frequency of occurrence, whether there are any melodic, rhythmic and formal structures characteristic of these French-Canadian folk songs; and (4) to suggest a possible teaching sequence of musical elements based on these characteristic structures. The collections examined were: Folk Songs of French Canada (1925); Romancero du Canada (1937); Les enfants disent (1943); Alouette! (1946); Chansons populaires du vieux Quebec (1956); Dansons a la ronde (1958); Jongleur Songs of Old Quebec (1962); and Le rossignol y chante, 2nd ed. (1979). An initial analysis of tone set, scale, range, metre, rhythmic set and form was performed on the total 307 songs found in these collections. Seventy-four songs were then selected based on their suitability for use with children and further analyzed for rhythmic patterns, cadence notes and phrase stress. As a result of these analyses, certain musical elements appeared to be characteristic of these French-Canadian folk songs. Diatonic melodies with major characteristics were most common; however, melodies with dorian, mixolydian, aeolian/minor and lydian characteristics were also identified. Overall, the songs had a very limited melodic range with notes concentrated in a pentachord built on the tonic (1-2-3-4-5). Rhythmically, these songs were very active; one-beat rhythmic patterns based on sixteenth notes were characteristic and 2/4 and 6/8 metres were most common. Phrases which originate before the downbeat and end on the downbeat were preponderant. Based on these results, a teaching sequence of musical elements was suggested for use with older beginners in a music programme based on Zoltan Kodaly's principles of music education. It was recognized that the findings of this study were based on a limited sample of songs. It was the therefore recommended that other songs collected by Barbeau and other French-Canadian scholars be similarly examined and analyzed. Certain modes and metres appeared to be associated with certain types of songs (e.g., lyrical songs, work songs). These observations suggested that further research be done on the interrelationship of song genre with specific melodic, rhythmic and formal characteristics. Also recommended were comparative studies of the musical characteristics of French-Canadian folk songs with those of folk songs of other western cultures. Finally, it was suggested that variants of French-language folk songs found in other languages be studied and that their musical variations and textual transformations be compared.
Bibliography: p. 133-137.
Favreau, S. G. (1985). An Analytical study for pedagogical purposes of French-Canadian folks songs as collected by Marius Barbeau (Master's thesis, University of Calgary, Calgary, Canada). Retrieved from doi:10.11575/PRISM/21048