Airs de Cour

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Airs de CourBetween the early 16th and the middle of the 17th century, as the lute reached its zenith as a solo and accompanying instrument throughout Europe, Pierre Attaingnant, Adrian LeRoy, and the Ballard family dominated the business of printing music in France. The chansons and airs de cour they published—and, in many cases, composed—combined exquisite poetry with both polyphonic and homophonic lute accompaniments, yielding some of the most affecting and artful expressions of love ever composed. Psalm settings, such as those by LeRoy, are more rare, but no less direct or powerful. While dance music predominated in solo lute repertoire, song settings, fantasies, and preludes provided lutenists with ample opportunities for personal expression.

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