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Musète de Choisi
Composer: Couperin, François
Performer(s): Clive Titmuss, Lute
                           Susan Adams, Harpsichord

Length: 3:09

Formats: MP3 (128kbps)
               WAV (uncompressed)

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The musette is a dance with a drone bass, imitating the bagpipe. Popular since the medieval period, it was often played on the hurdy-gurdy (vielle à roue). It had a great vogue in the music of 17th and 18th century France, when the idealization of things rustic was a common feature of court music and dance. Couperin's original piece included a contreparthie, an optional part which could be played on any melody instrument or another harpsichord. The simple pastoral character is clear in the first half, but in the second section the two lines interweave in complex modal counterpoint. The lute part retains most of the profusion of keyboard ornaments so beloved of the French claveçinistes, giving them a somwhat softened and novel effect.

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