La Marseillaise

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"La Marseillaise" ("The Marseille [Song]"; French pronunciation: [la maʁsɛˈjɛz]) is the national anthem of France. The name of the song originally was Chant de guerre pour l'Armée du Rhin ("War Song for the Army of the Rhine"). It was written and composed by Claude Joseph Rouget de Lisle in 1792 and adopted in 1795 as the nation's first anthem. It is also the first example of the "European march" anthemic style. Since being adopted as France's national anthem, the evocative lyrics and instantly recognisable tune of La Marseillaise have led to its use as a revolutionary anthem as well as to the inspiration of many pieces of classical music and popular culture.

Contents

History

Rouget de Lisle wrote the song Chant de guerre pour l'Armée du Rhin in Strasbourg on 25 April 1792, and dedicated it to Marshal Nicolas Luckner, a Bavarian–born French officer from Cham. The melody is an adaptation of a theme written in 1781 by Giovan Battista Viotti[citation needed]. The melody soon became the rallying call to the French Revolution and was adopted as La Marseillaise after the melody was first sung on the streets by volunteers (fédérés in French) from Marseille. These fédérés were making their entryway into Paris on 30 July 1792 after a young volunteer from Montpellier called François Mireur had sung it at a patriotic gathering in Marseille and the troops adopted it as the marching song of the National Guard of Marseille. A newly graduated medical doctor, Mireur later became a general under Napoléon Bonaparte and died in Egypt at 28.

The song's lyrics reflect the invasion of France by foreign armies (from Prussia and Austria) underway when it was written; Strasbourg itself was attacked just a few days later. The invading forces were repulsed from France following their defeat in the Battle of Valmy.

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