Breton songs on popular prints
Broadsheets database

Welcome to the world of Breton songs diffused by means of popular printed matter (broadsheets, press cuttings, booklets, copies ...). It’s more or less what is known in France as hawker literature, chapbook...

Museum of Brittany - Rennes
Museum of Brittany - Rennes

Alongside the Breton repertoire of oral tradition and often in reciprocal interaction with it, a vast repertoire in Breton and French was composed and distributed, initially through inexpensive, sometimes even free, printedmatter. Composed for singing, thereby helping better memorisation, many of these pieces, in their turn, have entered the oral tradition.
This repertoire reflects a many-faceted image of society and its preoccupations. It gives voice to the illiterate as well as to educated people, to the underclass as well as to the elite. It’s topics are abundant: from news in brief to great events, from praise to satire, from daily life to prognostications of all varieties ...

Produced by volunteers, the principle aim of this free, unsubsidised site is to help the research of those who access it.
In case of public reuse of this information, please cite the "" sites and the libraries or collections from whence the attached document have been sourced. Find out from them about possible rights linked to commercial use.

Do not hesitate to contact us for any additional research, remark, observation of error or opportunities of sources not mentioned here.

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The site in numbers

Feuilles To create this site, file and analyse the broadsheets, 32000 scans were made in different libraries in Brittany.
This study has referenced 4835 broadsheets. Amongst these, 908 have been published many times leading to as many as 28 editions.
We recommend consulting the 3190 broadsheets online on PDF format.
These broadsheets include 7045 songs corresponding to 5761 different song-forms. The songs in French represent 15% of the whole. The abridged versions of 3543 songs are available. These songs were composed by 767 authors.
They are classified under 235 topics. 222 scores played by a synthesizer are listenable in MP3 format.
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