France has had since the early Middle Ages a rich tradition of songs, and many great songs have come down to us. This course explores this remarkable heritage in France and in the Francophone “New World.” We will begin with medieval songs, then move through the centuries, with attention to song types, regional variations, and historical issues. We will read, hear (and sometimes sing) a wide range of songs—many of them quite famous. We turn then to the French in Canada: they brought their songs with them, but added to the tradition in new ways—as did the “Cajun” French in Louisiana. Finally, we look at Haiti—at the ways in which the French song tradition adapted itself to another new social and linguistic environment. In each place, new themes, human experiences, types of occasions, singing styles, and musical instruments enriched the French song tradition. Song is intricately linked to the linguistic identity and culture for francophone North Americans. This brings the course from the Middle Ages to its present context, where it plays an essential role in, for example, the "Cajun Renaissance."