Date of Thesis

Spring 2020


This Senior Honors Thesis explores the social and cultural impact of confessional musical composition and performance on the French Wars of Religion (1562-1598). Because Huguenots and Catholics identified with and were widely identifiable by their respective musical styles, cultural divisions between each confession were emphasized by differences in music. This capacity of sacred and confessionally-influenced secular music to highlight and reinforce societal divides is evidenced by the interconfessional violence that accompanied the public performance of sacred music in cities as well as the pressures imposed on composers to create music which clearly aligned with their respective confessions. As the wars increased in intensity before their conclusion, the French monarchy used religious music to expedite the consolidation of France’s national identity around the Catholic Church. This transition of the social role of music toward unification and consolidation reached a climax during the reign of Louis XIV (r. 1638-1715), who closely controlled the composition and performance of music in order to ensure it remained a unifying and stabilizing cultural institution.


French, Wars, Religion, Music, Violence, Community

Access Type

Honors Thesis

Degree Type

Bachelor of Arts



Second Major

Languages, Cultures & Linguistics

First Advisor

David Del Testa

Second Advisor

Helene Martin