The Baudelaire Song Project

Who, what, why | Baudelaire & Song

The Baudelaire Song Project has one main aim: to research all the song settings ever of poems by famous French poet Charles Baudelaire. Leading the team is Professor Helen Abbott at the University of Birmingham, working with Co-Director Dr Mylène Dubiau at the University of Toulouse II. We are building a pioneering digital dataset which brings together for the first time both pop music and classical music settings of Baudelaire's verse and prose poetry, totalling 200+ poem texts. Working with the French originals and translations of the poems into different languages, with music scores and in audio format, the project team is developing a new way to analyse song. Our digital approach means we will produce rich, comparative data across the whole dataset, meaning we can answer questions such as: What are the performance trends in singing Baudelaire's poems? Which poems are never or rarely set to music, and why? How do composers and songwriters handle the challenges of setting French verse metre? Are there certain types of musical genres which are more suited to Baudelaire's poetry than others? Hosted by the University of Birmingham (UK) and working with the HRI Digital team at the University of Sheffield (UK), as well as with the University of Toulouse II (France), the Baudelaire Song Project is generously funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) 2015-2019.

Women respond to Baudelaire: spotlight on female composers and musicians

Our Undergraduate Research Scholar Emelia Lavender joined the project team in Summer 2018. The award of a UGRS scholarship enabled… Read More

Should feminists read Baudelaire? (3)

With the #MeToo and #balancetonporc campaigns hitting the press in recent times, we might ask what lessons history has to… Read More

Baudelaire’s Musical Travels

Our Research Associate Dr Nina Rolland is taking us on a database tour to see in which countries and regions Baudelaire… Read More

Our Project Team
Baudelaire Song Project
Prof. Helen Abbott

Project Director (PI)
Specialist in nineteenth-century French poetry and music, University of Birmingham

Baudelaire Song Project
Dr Mylène Dubiau

Assistant Director (Co-I)
Expert in links between musical discourse and poetics of texts in performance, Université Toulouse Jean Jaurès

Baudelaire Song Project
Dr Nina Rolland

Research Associate
Developer of the interdisciplinary dataset and song analysis techniques