Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name





Sylvia Kahan

Committee Members

Norman Carey

Jonathan Pieslak

Grant Knox

Sylvia Kahan

Subject Categories

Composition | Fine Arts | Music Performance | Music Theory | Other French and Francophone Language and Literature


French Mélodie, Martial Caillebotte, Vocal Performance, Paris, Musical Analysis, Performance Guide


Composer, pianist and photographer, Martial Caillebotte (1853–1910) was the unknown younger brother of famous Impressionist painter, Gustave Caillebotte. Martial studied piano and harmony at the Paris Conservatory from 1870–1874. Martial created a substantial number of musical compositions including mélodies, scènes lyriques, operas, symphonic poems, as well as sacred choral and symphonic works. Born into a wealthy Parisian family, he did not need to work for a living and did not self-promote, therefore his pieces were rarely performed and after his death, most of his compositions were left in family archives. In the late 1990’s a rebirth of interest in the Caillebotte name (both Gustave and Martial) and artistic contributions led to the rediscovery of Martial Caillebotte’s music and current research.

There is little scholarly work written on Martial Caillebotte, therefore this dissertation is meant to serve as an in-depth academic study and presentation of Martial Caillebotte and his works. Chapter 1 provides a biographical and historical examination of Caillebotte’s life and musical influences. A listing and description of his compositions are provided along with corresponding reviews and historical journal announcements. Chapter 2 is dedicated to the poets that Caillebotte set to music: Théophile Gautier (1811–1872), Pierre de Ronsard (1524–1585), Olivier Basselin (1400–1450), Félix Arvers (1806–1850), L. Gilis (dates unknown), and Alfred de Musset (1810–1857). Chapter 3 presents analytical essays and performance practice suggestions for Caillebotte’s mélodies and scènes lyriques for voice and piano: “Sérénade,” Mignonne, allons voir si la rose,” “Chanson,” “Sonnet,” “Le Nuage,” and “Attente.” The analytical essays are presented in the following outline: Text of the poem in French/translations in English; poem analysis; Caillebotte’s setting of the poetry; and musical analysis. A full score as well as musical examples are provided for each mélodie. Two appendices provide information on the three recordings by Chœur Régional Vittoria Île-de-France of Martial Caillebotte’s choral works (2012, 2014, and 2017) and chronological listings of the 21st century live performances of Martial Caillebotte’s compositions.