Document Type

Theses, Ph.D


Available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike 4.0 International Licence



Publication Details

Successfully submitted for the award of Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) to the Technological University Dublin in August, 2013


The period after the 1789 French Revolution was one of turbulence, musically, socially, culturally and politically. The violence against both people and property meant that the nineteenth century was a time of renewal and regrowth. At all times this was uncertain as numerous political upheavals took place as the French attempted to define their future direction. As with all aspects of culture, organ music experienced a slow regrowth over the course of the long nineteenth century, perhaps being at a particular disadvantage due to its role in the church, an institution which also went through a period of difficulty from the anticlericalism of the revolutionary period to the separation of church and state in 1905. This dissertation examines the role that the early music of the church (namely Gregorian chant) played in shaping organ music in France during the past two centuries in particular. As an almost constant presence in French organ music, either through the organ masses of the classical era, the improvisations of the virtuosic organists of the Cavaillé-Coll period or the chant-based music of the revival, chant has been a presence in the music of the French organist-composer. This work aims to explore this role. In some cases a composer’s work is examined analytically, although this is not an analysis thesis. In other instances, the philosophies and motivations of key composers are discussed. This includes consideration of the role of chant not only as it is quoted directly, but also the impact of its modal and rhythmic style on these


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