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The French Revolution

The French Revolution was an uprising in human history that changed the way of life for many. The poor became poorer, the people became mostly jobless, the cities became even more lifeless. Not only did the Revolution affected music in the 1700s but it still has an effect on modern day music.

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The Revolution had an impact on many things; one of the many things being music. The French Revolution was also an evolution for music.

The leaders of the Revolution wanted to end the aristocracy; they soon realized music could influence people so they used music to achieve their goals. The purpose of music during the Revolution was to unite a group of people to take action. The music was used to get people to feel nationalism pride and rise against the aristocracy. The Revolution influenced a numerous amount of composers. The emotions the composers felt during this time period influenced the way music was produced.

The churches were the main supporters of musicians. They relied on people that could compose, conduct, and play the organ. Because the church demanded this, people obtained a living by working for the church. Musicians could also gain patronage from an aristocrat as another way to earn a living. “Kapellmeister is someone who is a composer, conductor, a performer, and organizer”(Kingsnews). The wealthy families would often hire these people to write and perform small pieces of music for entertainment. When the Revolution took place the aristocrats lost their fortunes, loss of music centers resulted from small states being consumed by neighbors.

Public concert halls raised from the change. People had more availability to music because of this rise. However, the public wasn’t interested in heavy music. “The limits of music were not allowed to go beyond that of what was politically and socially acceptable to the old regime”(Kingsnews). The changes caused by the Revolution caused many people to lose their jobs which in turn unemployed many musicians. These changes affected many musicians because their music did not fit the popular trend of music.

In the time of the French Revolution people often used their musical talents to get what they need. In the book, Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly on page 138 in the first paragraph gives an example of how music was used to people’s advantages. Levesque, the inn-keeper, makes a deal with Alex’s family; as long as they sing songs for his guests in the tap room he will give them a place to sleep.

In the book, Revolution, on pages 114 and 115 Alex mentions that she, her father, and her uncle puts on puppet shows. She then says “We were all hungry, all thin, for the harvest was poor and the winter long.”(Revolution) Two paragraphs below Alex goes on “My mother wept. My brothers, all five of them, joined her.”(Revolution). Within this journal entry, Alex explains her family’s means of collecting money. Alex also plays her guitar for the Little Prince. When the Little Prince is locked in the tower she plays loudly hoping he can hear her.

In today’s society, music no longer depends on the churches or patronage. The music style today varies from the style of music during the Revolution. Whereas classical composers made money during the Revolution, they would have a very difficult time earning money composing classical pieces. Another difference that stands out is the “performance and the ‘look’ of the musician”(Kingsnews). During the French Revolution people listened and gave money because of the feelings that emit from the song. However, today’s society buys music “based on the attractiveness of the musicians”(Kingsnews).

Even though the evolution of music has changed dramatically people today still use music to tell a story, for entertainment, to influence one another. However, instead of using music to influence people to end aristocracy, music is produced to influence people to stand up for what they believe in. Modern music comes from the classical music that was created during the French Revolution.

Modern musician uses the works of those who lived before them to inspire their own piece. Some musicians and their songs that were inspired by classical music are “Elvis Presley – I Can’t Help Falling In Love With You ; It’s Now Or Never, Queen – It’s A Hard Life, Barry Manilow – Could It Be Magic, Lady Gaga – Alejandro ; Bad Romance, Beyonce – Schubert, and many more musicians”(ClassicFM).

Throughout the book, Andi does some similar things that Alex did during the French Revolution. One of these things is her music. Alex played her music in the streets of Paris for money. However, Andi doesn’t think of this at first. Andi stumbled upon this by accident. On page 96 in the book, Revolution, Andi is sitting on a bench when she hears a note from “Norwegian Wood”. She starts playing the song on her guitar, an old man drops a coin into her guitar case.

On page 120 of Revolution, Andi is facing a problem; she is hungry. She tries to take money off her ATM card but is declined. After having a conversation with Minna Dyson Andi comes to the conclusion to play her music on the streets to make money so she can buy food. Later on page 122, a guy asks Andi if she wants to jam, to which she replied yes. They get a few more coins tossed in the case. After a little while, they split the money and head to a cafe together.

On page 128 of Revolution, Andi meets Virgil, the “Hip-Hop master”. Andi, Virgil, and Jules starts playing music in the cafe. They’re playing in the cafe to earn some food. Remy, the cafe owner, tells them to play sad songs because then people will drink more. It’s just like the time when Alex and her family need a place to sleep, but instead Andi, and Virgil is playing for food.

Andi goes to a party with Jules and Virgil, they pass through the catacombs to get to this party. The cops soon show up and everyone scatters. In the midst of running Andi trips and hits her head. When she wakes up she is now in the 1700s; the French Revolution to be exact. While she is in this time period she remembers what she read in Alex’s journal entries.

On her way a shop to get new guitar strings, she sees the tower that the Little Prince is being held. Without thinking, Andi starts to play for him. Malherbauro tries to get her to stop but she keeps playing louder. Soon guards show up, they tell Andi to stop playing and move along. When Andi doesn’t respond or stop playing the guard hits Andi in the head with the butt of the gun. In Andi’s journey through this time period, she experiences what Alex experienced.

The French Revolution impacted many things; one being music. Music during the French Revolution had a greater purpose than today’s music. However, today’s music influence people in a way music should influence people. Alex and Andi both used their talents to their advantages to get what they need. Although the French Revolution changed human history and many other things, it brought upon the evolution of music.