Author ORCID Identifier

Date Available


Year of Publication


Degree Name

Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation


Fine Arts



First Advisor

Dr. Noemi Lugo


The French baroque petit motet was the most prolific genre of seventeenth-century France. In this study, three petits motets, specifically Regina caeli settings of French composers Marc-Antoine Charpentier, Nicolas Bernier and François Couperin are examined with an emphasis on the motets’ historical context in relation to the French monarchy and the Italian concepts that the composers incorporated into each work. All three Regina caeli settings display some Italian compositional techniques of the stile moderno in various degrees and were written in different contextual ecclesiastic milieux.

The intersections of, as well as distinctions between, musical ideas of traditional French style and Italian innovations was at the center of music and musical discourse during the baroque period. The French were introduced to Italian style by travelling musicians at the court of France; however, when Louis XIV gave Jean-Baptiste Lully the important position of surintendant de la musique, the idea of an authentic unaltered French sound became prevalent among musicians and critics. Lully, strongest defender of “pure” French style, created a strict environment for musicians at court, and only after his death, did composers gain in freedom. The study suggests that a closer association to Louis XIV permitted musicians to integrate more of the Italian stile moderno techniques than those who did not have this opportunity. Crucial figures of the French monarchy, Louis XIV, Philippe II d’Orléans and the duc de Bourgogne were connected to the three composers central to this project and impacted the outcome of their work. With the musical-historical study of three Regina caeli settings, this project demonstrates the importance of the petit motet genre within the repertoire and the need for additional research to increase the accessibility of this inestimable music

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