Resonance: Musical Heritage of La Francophonie Previous   Next


Bal-musette instruments
Lent by the Musée des musiques populaires de Montluçon, Musée de Tulle, France

Video Excerpt

  Daniel Denécheau and the Jâse Musette, Montmagny 2000, Coll. C. Bégin, CMC


Around 1880, dances and open-air cafés where people could dance were at the height of their popularity in Paris. Many people from the Auvergne region who had settled on the outskirts of the city gathered in cafés to dance to the music of the musette, a small bagpipe. The expression bal-musette refers to such dances. The musette was the most important instrument of the festivities and recreated the atmosphere of the traditional festivals in Auvergne. Many Italian immigrants moved into the same neighbourhoods, bringing with them their own musical traditions. Over the years, the hurdy-gurdy and the bagpipes gave way to the accordion, imported from Italy, which became the main instrument for a new musical genre. The popular melodies, the music of village bands, Italian songs, the people from the Auvergne region and the arrival of new instruments from North America, including the banjo, helped the musette take shape and made it the dance music preferred by Parisians. The instruments shown here include a jazz drum set and its accessories, an accordion, bagpipes with three double stocks and a banjo.