A mélodie (French: [melɔdi] (About this sound listen)) is a French art song. It is the French equivalent of the German Lied. Mélodies have been composed since the mid-19th century. A chanson, by contrast, is a folk or popular song. The literal meaning of the word in the French language is "melody".


The mélodie is often defined by comparison with the lied. Pierre Bernac provides this comparison in The Interpretation of French Song:

Debussy goes on to write that 'clarity of expression, precision and concentration of form are qualities peculiar to the French genius.' These qualities are indeed most noticeable when again compared with the German genius, excelling as it does in long, uninhibited outpourings, directly opposed to the French taste, which abhors overstatement and venerates concision and diversity.[page needed]

Bernac writes that "the art of the greatest French composers is an art of suggestion",[1] rather than explicit statement of feelings.

The mélodie is noted for its deliberate and close relationship between text and melody. To compose or interpret mélodies, one must have a sensitive knowledge of the French language, French poetry, and French poetic diction.[2] Numerous books have been written about the details of French pronunciation specifically for mélodie singers, often featuring IPA transcriptions of songs with further notations for French-specific features like liaison and elision.[citation needed]

Other Languages
español: Mélodie
français: Mélodie (genre)
Simple English: Mélodie