La, la, la, je ne l'ose dire

Pierre Certon

La, la, la, je ne l'ose dire

About this work

In the middle of the sixteenth century in Paris, a particular fad took hold for Voix de ville. The best chanson composers of the day suddenly took to setting the "voices of the village," music loaded with dance rhythms and simple melodies as if sung by villagers. Pierre Certon was apparently living in Paris already, and issued a collection of the popular chansons in 1552; it became a hit. His little ditty on the text, "La la la, je ne l'ose dire," offers a charming example. The entire song proceeds in simple homophonic chord progressions, though the refrain contains a bit of syncopation, and extra bouncing of rhythmic motives from one part to another, as if to evoke a gaggle of gossiping villagers. The refrain itself does promise to tell the latest scoop. A pair of simple (and danceable) verses in somewhat more regular phrase structure provide the details: "There is a man of the village who is jealous of his woman; he is not jealous for nothing, because he is cuckolded completely; she will go hand in hand with anyone to the sea." The music should be performed with spirit, according to the driving rhythms, the sordid yet playful text, and the simplistic patter within the refrain.

Done