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.

Black Metal Baudelaire

by Helen Abbott and Caroline Ardrey “My metal throat can speak all languages”. So claims Baudelaire in his threatening poem… Read More

Baudelaire: from the Depths of Beauty, Oxford Lieder 2017

Dr Nina Rolland, New Research Associate on the Baudelaire Song Project reports on the Symposium on Baudelaire, Berg and Debussy… Read More

Pourquoi Charles Baudelaire a-t-il autant inspiré les compositeurs? Luchon Festival 2017

By Dr Caroline Potter, Baudelaire Song Project consultant, reports on an important Baudelaire festival which took place in the Pyrenees… 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 Caroline Ardrey

Research Associate
Developer of the interdisciplinary dataset and song analysis techniques