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French female composer, Germaine Tailleferre (1892-1983) is well-known for her small chamber music compositions, but less known for her film score compositions, and her elusive film scores have not been a topic of discussion in music scholarship at the time of this writing. The aim of this thesis is to analyze one of thirty-eight films for which Tailleferre composed a score, Les Grandes Personnes (1961), and the information will be presented in three chapters. Chapter 1 provides information on Tailleferre’s life and compositional career, her inclusion in and the aesthetic endeavors of Les Six, and a background on French culture to necessitate the discussion of French cinematic history and music. In Chapter 2, French cinematic history in the context of film music will be discussed, as well as some filmic background on Les Grandes Personnes. Finally, Chapter 3 contains a musical analysis of Tailleferre’s score to Les Grandes Personnes by means of score transcriptions and stills taken from the film. The overarching goal of this thesis project is to provide more insight into Tailleferre’s compositional style by exploring a medium other than her chamber works, a general outline of her film score composing aesthetic, and her non-conformity to the prevailing trends of French cinema around 1961.
Adviser: Anthony J. Bushard