Baudelaire Song Project

Summary:

The Baudelaire Song Project will research and bring together for the first time all the song settings ever of Baudelaire’s poetry, looking at classical music and popular music settings, in French original and in translation, with music scores and in audio format.

Project Status:

In Progress

Funders:

Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC)

Partners:

University of Sheffield
Université de Toulouse II-Jean Jaurès

Subjects:

data visualisation, digital archive, French studies, music, poetry, transcriptions

Technologies:

CSS, HTML, HTML5 Canvas, Java, MySQL, WebGL, XML

Project Description

The Baudelaire Song Project will research and bring together for the first time all the song settings ever of Baudelaire’s poetry, looking at classical music and popular music settings, in French original and in translation, with music scores and in audio format. The preparation of the full dataset of song settings will be enhanced by digital analysis tools to enable comparisons between poem and music, and between different settings of the same poem.

The project team will develop a new methodology for the analysis of poem + song using digital-analytical tools, and critiquing existing methodologies derived from word/music theory, translation theory, and adaptation studies. The online resource published at the end of project will provide users with a comprehensive, searchable database of Baudelaire poems and song settings, including a corpus of tagged original poems and tagged scores, and visualisation tools that enable song settings and performances to be analysed across the corpus. It will afford a new understanding of how words and music interact as song (avoiding simplistic assumptions such as a song working in ‘perfect harmony’ with a poem, or creating a ‘distortion’ of it). A key aspect of the project is a focus on both the composer/songwriter and the performer; many of the tagged poems made available through the website via the database will be accompanied by audio recordings of the songs, especially for those rare settings which have gone unnoticed by both the academy and singers/performers alike, making new materials available to the wider public. Workshops and concerts (working with Oxford Lieder, Toulouse Mélodie-Française, and Sheffield Sing!) will also form part of the project, and these will be open to all.

The resulting database of Baudelaire songs, plus the search and visualisation features will be made available at the end of the project on a public website. An interdisciplinary Baudelaire conference will be held in Sheffield in 2019.

Duration: 2015 – 2019

Project Team

  • Dr Helen Abbott (Principal Investigator – School of Modern Languages and Cultures)
  • Dr Mylène Dubiau (Co-Investigator – Université de Toulouse II-Jean Jaurès)
  • Dr Caroline Ardrey (Research Associate - University of Sheffield)
  • Jamie McLaughlin (Digital Humanities Developer – University of Sheffield)