Music of  Quebec


Being a modern cosmopolitan society, all types of music can be found in Quebec today. What is specific to Quebec though are traditional songs, a unique variety of celtic music, legions of excellent jazz musicians, a culture of classical music, and a love of foreign rhythms that can be observed every Sunday on the Mount Royalin Montreal The ten Amerindian peoples and the Inuit of Quebec also have their own traditional music.

Traditional music

Under French rule, what is now Quebec was called le Canada and was the most developed colony of New France. After many generations of French settlers born in Canada, the colonists began to identity to their home country and call themselves les Canadiens (the Canadians) to make a distinction with les Franšais (the French), those who were native of France. A similar socio-cultural phenomenon occurred in Acadia, and numerous other European colonies in America, Africa, Asia, and Oceania.

The Canadiens inherited a rich tradition of songs and dances from northern France, namely the regions of Ile-de-France, Picardie, Normandy, Poitou, and Britanny. These regions are there to explain the celtic connection that Quebec still shares today with Britanny, Ireland, Scotlandand the Maritimes.

Somehow, it seems as though the original French settlers had forgotten to bring instruments when they emigrated to Canada in the 16th, 17th, and 18th century. This seems to be the reason why the French Canadians began to make music by beating the rhythm with their feet, spoons, forks and knives.

As time went by, the French Canadians began to develop their own music and incorporated and transformed the styles of music played by the settlers from Great Britain after the Conquest. (100 of these songs were collected by Ernest Gagnon for an 1865 compilation, one of the first such collection to be published in Canada.)

Perhaps the most remarkable phenomenon in the popular music of that century was the career of La Bolduc, who became extremely popular singing satirical and sometimes racy songs based on the Quebec and Irish folk traditions, and who also was expert in the wordless vocalization known as turlutte.

By the 1960s, radioand televisionhad begun to help disseminate French folk songs, especially after the 1967 foundation of the Centennial Collection of Canadian Folk Songs, including recordings of Quebec performers like Yves Albert and Jacques Labrecque, as well as Acadian Edith Butler.




  • (cordofoni)

  • (aerofoni)

  • (ancia libera)

  • (membranofoni)

  • (idiofoni) spoons, forks and knives

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