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Georges Bizet:
Harmonic Texture in the Farandole

In the "Farandole" from Georges Bizet's Arlésienne Suite, there are examples of all three kinds of harmonic texture: monophony, homophony, and polyphony. Hear those terms explained in words and in music.

Music heard in this episode:
Bizet: L’Arlesienne Suite: Farandole

Other shows about Georges Bizet:
About Georges Bizet
Jewish Composers (for Chanukah)
Christmas Carols in Classical Music
Firsts for the New Year

Download this month's activity sheet

About Georges Bizet
10/25/1838 - 6/3/1875
Born in France

Georges Bizet was born in Paris, France. Both his parents were musicians, and they actually wanted their son to become a composer when he grew up! Bizet loved music, but he also loved to read books. His parents wound up hiding his books so that he would spend more time on his music.

When Georges was 10 years old, his father enrolled him in the Paris Conservatory. While he was there, he wrote his only symphony, but it wasn't performed until many years after he died. Bizet graduated from the Conservatory with awards in both composition and piano.

Bizet also composed operas. His most famous opera is Carmen. When Carmen first opened in Paris, the reviews were terrible. Many critics said there were no good tunes in it, so audiences stayed away.

In the middle of the night during the first round of Carmen performances, Bizet died. He was only 36. Four months later, Carmen opened in Vienna, Austria, and was a smash hit. It is now one of the most popular operas ever written. Bizet never knew that audiences would come to consider it his masterpiece.

Bizet was also very good at writing dramatic music. The music he wrote for the play L'Arlesienne (The Girl from Arles) is still enjoyed today.

See other composers born in France


This Week's Quiz:

1. Phonos is a Greek word that means


a record player



2.In polyphonic music you hear

only one voice

several melodies at the same time

3. The main tune in the Farandole from Bizet's L'Arlesienne Suite is

a folk song

an old French Christmas carol

a military march

a piece from the opera Carmen


Georges Bizet
L'Arlésienne Suite

Composed in 1872
Performed by Slovak Philharmonic Orchestra
Anthony Bramall, conductor

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