Date of Completion


Embargo Period



French Baroque, Air de cour, Lully, French Baroque air, Campra, Rameau, Monteclair

Major Advisor

Eric Rice

Associate Advisor

Constance Rock

Associate Advisor

Linda Neelly

Field of Study



Doctor of Musical Arts

Open Access

Open Access


French opera has a special place in the baroque canon. Although it has roots in the Italian tradition, certain aspects of rhythmic gesture, form, embellishment, and performance practices are unique to French baroque opera. The origins of French baroque opera has a complicated history, and this history and performance tradition have shaped the development of the solo vocal form in this genre. Despite the resurgence of early music performance in the last thirty years, French baroque opera — and by extension the use of French baroque aria literature — has not caught on among teachers and performers of mainstream vocal literature in the United States. However, there are several characteristics of French baroque arias that make them useful as a teaching tool in the voice studio. This study offers an overview of the various aria forms and a discussion of performance practice issues that should be considered when approaching French baroque music. In addition, common vocal faults encountered when working with young singers are addressed, and characteristics of French baroque arias that can be useful in correcting these faults are discussed. Finally, the dissertation presents an anthology of twenty-four French baroque airs accompanied by literal and poetic translations, historical backgrounds, suggested ornamentation, and possible pedagogical applications for each piece.