Turlutte (music)

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In Quebec, the turlutte is a form of traditional popular song,[1] which is associated with specific melody ornaments.[2] It is more accurately characterized as a song or vocal style in the French chanson tradition. It is associated particularly with the working class or trade union tradition in the Canadian encyclopedia.[3] These include the following:

  • Short developments - preambles, bridges, refrains. It is frequently done solo, impromptu or otherwise.
  • In its canonical form, the turlutte is characterized by wordless variations on certain phonetic connections. For example (in French) "tamtidelam" passes to "tam tidelidelam") posting a certain pallet of phonemes whose selection answers phonetic and aesthetic criteria. These include for example, the marriage of [T], [D] and [m] for the consonants, of [I] and of [a], for the vowels.
  • It is also characterized by a removed tempo, by what the turluttes often take "l' pace d' impossible virelangues." The turluttées melodies are of ordinary dancing and merry. According to some, the turlutte would constitute a vocal imitation of a musical instrument, such as the violin or the flute.
  • Use: It was used by Mary Travers, under a name "La Bolduc," in the 1930s. Another more recent example is from 2000, from the group Mes Souliers Sont Rouges, with the song "Quand Plus Rien Ne Va."[4] The subject of the song is precisely the turlutte (and its homonyms).

Quebec popular music[edit]

A skilled proponent of the turlutte is La Bolduc, whose satirical and sometimes racy songs were based on the Quebec and Irish folk traditions. She is considered an expert turlutte.


Turlutte is also the name of a fiddle tune in Quebec. It lends itself well to group playing and percussive use of feet and hands, as in the performance at Kyneton, central Victoria, where the Celtic Southern Cross Summer School produced this ethnomusicologically notable clip.[5] It has also been rendered on guitar.[6]

See also[edit]

Canadian music Entry on French Wikipedia