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Traditional French music is the folk music of France. If compared to the most of European countries, France is old. The area of France used to be much bigger than its present size. In modern terms France comprised France, Belgium, part of Netherlands, Western part of Switzerland and Germany.
French people were interested in their folk heritage at its early stage in history and many folk songs were collected by Hersart de la Villemarqué and later published in 1839. Authentic folk traditions including folk music were passing from generation to generation, so no folk music passed away by neglect.
The instrumental music of France is very similar to that of Scotland and Ireland. The most typical is fast dancing music known as Couple de Sonneurs, traditionally played on bombard and biniou. Binou resembles a Scottish bagpipe and bombarde resembles the shawn of the middle ages. Bagpipes are also essential instruments in central France and in the South-West of France is a variation of a bag pipe – doha pipe. Basques are people, who inhabit the area between France and Spain where accordion plays a central part in Trikitrixa (Basque folk music).
The island of Corsica used to be a part of France too, however, its traditional music and, especially vocal music is unique. These songs have no strict rhythm. These dirges and lullabies are traditionally sung by female population. However, the most thrilling is Corsican song for three voices known as Paghjella. One needs to hear this, since it is very difficult to describe.
In 1950s France showed more interest in traditional French music. And 1970s have become the age of folk-rock boom. The folk music in France is not static. It has evolved during the centuries and its evolution will continue reflecting social changes. The music of ex French colonies has left its imprint into French cities with the waves of immigrants from Algeria, Morocco, etc. The music of Magreb is fusing with older forms of traditional French music.