Encore! Music and Society in Modern French Culture - FREN5002

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Module delivery information

This module is not currently running in 2024 to 2025.


This module introduces students to key concepts in the analysis of musical products such as opera, traditional songs, pop and counter-culture songs. It will also introduce students to the use of music in literature in France from the eighteenth century to the present. It will do so by considering a selection of relevant cultural products from a variety of sources, such as eighteenth- and nineteenth-century opera (e.g. Jean-Philippe Rameau; Georges Bizet), literature on music (e.g. Balzac's 'Sarrasine'), major French and Belgian twentieth-century chanson artists (e.g. Edith Piaf, Jacques Brel, Georges Brassens) and contemporary singers and rappers (e.g. Stromae, Baloji, Damso).

The module will use musical products as a point of access to understand French and in some cases Belgian culture and history and analyses how these mirror, criticise and try to change French social, cultural and political beliefs. A recurring theme will be how French and francophone music mirrors and interrogates the relationship of Europe with other cultures, notably through the lens of colonialism and its aftermaths. Gender and class will also recur as themes. Special attention will be given throughout the module to the textual and literary aspect of musical products, focusing on close readings of libretti and lyrics.


Contact hours

Total Contact Hours: 20
Private Study Hours: 130
Total Study Hours: 150

Method of assessment

Main assessment methods
Creative response and reflection (500 words) – 20%
Essay Plan (500 words) – 20%
Essay (2,000 words) – 60%

Reassessment methods
Reassessment Instrument: 100% Coursework

Indicative reading

IThe University is committed to ensuring that core reading materials are in accessible electronic format in line with the Kent Inclusive Practices. The most up to date reading list for each module can be found on the university's reading list pages: https://kent.rl.talis.com/index.html

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

The intended subject specific learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

1 Demonstrate a nuanced awareness of key aspects of French (and in some instances Belgian) culture, history and society in relation to music as a cultural product, and a critical understanding of the ways in which this has developed across the decades;
2 Demonstrate critical understanding of French society from the eighteenth century to the present in relation to music as well as music production, dissemination, consumption, and representation;
3 Apply concepts and principles derived from the analysis of musical products to achieve a critical understanding of French and Belgian social, political and cultural history;
4 Demonstrate the ability to closely read lyrics, critically evaluate textual sources, and analytically evaluate their limitations;
5 Demonstrate awareness of the importance of music in processes of inculturation, acculturation and the dissemination of socio-political ideas.

The intended generic learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

1 Analyse primary materials as appropriate, using up-to-date theoretical frameworks and relating works to the relevant socio-historical context;
2 Use a range of established techniques to carry out independent analysis and research on cultural products and present their findings;
3 Demonstrate critical thinking skills;
4 Undertake independent research in the library, using appropriate academic databases online;
5 Synthesise and critically evaluate information from a number of sources, deploying key techniques from the discipline.


  1. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  2. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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