Skip to main content

Chailley, Jacques

Chailley, Jacques

Chailley, Jacques, eminent French musicologist and composer; b. Paris, March 24, 1910; d. Montpellier, Jan. 21, 1999. He studied composition with Boulanger, Delvincourt, and Busser, musicology with Pirro, Rokseth, and Smijers, and conducting with Mengelberg and Monteux; he also took courses in medieval French literature at the Sorbonne in Paris (1932–36; Ph.D., 1952, with two dissertations: L’École musicale de Saint-Martial de Limoges jusqu’à la fin du XIesiècle [publ, in Paris, 1960] and Chansons de Gautier du Coinci [publ, as Les Chansons à la Vierge de Gautier de Coinci in Monuments de la musique ancienne, XV, 1959]). He was general secretary (1937–47), vice-principal (1947–51), and prof, of the choral class (1951–53) at the Paris Cons.; from 1952 to 1979 he was director of the Inst. of Musicology at the Univ. of Paris; also taught at the Paris Lycée La Fontaine (1951–69); from 1962 to 1981 he was director of the Schola Can-torum. He wrote authoritatively on many subjects, including medieval music, the music of ancient Greece, music history, and the music of Bach, Mozart, Wagner, and others.


DRAMATIC: Les perses, incidental music for Ondes Martenot and Percussion, after Aeschylus (1936); Pan et la Syrinx, opera (1946); Thyl de Flandre, opera (1949–53; Brussels, Oct. 1, 1957); La Dame à la licorne, ballet (1953). orch.: 2 syms.: No. 1 (1942–45; 1st complete perf., Toulouse, March 4, 1948) and No. 2 (1980–84). chamber: String Quartet (1936); Viola Sonata (1939–41); Chant funèbre for Cello and Piano (1945); Suite sans prétention pour Monsieur de Molière for 3 Ondes Martenot and Wind Quintet (1955); Prélude et allegro for Viola and Cello (1976). keyboard: piano: Sonata breve (1960). vocal:Cantique de soleil for Contralto, Ondes Martenot, and Orch. (1934); Symphonies mariales, oratorio (1965); Messe française for 2 Soloists and Congregational Men’s Chorus (1976); Casa Dei, oratorio (1991).


(all publ, in Paris unless otherwise given): Petite Histoire de la chanson populaire française (1942); with H. Challan, Théorie complète de la musique (1949); Histoire musicale du Moyen Age (1950; 3rd éd., 1984); Les Notations musicales nouvelles (1950); La Musique médiévale (1951); Traité historique d’analyse musicale (1951; 2nd éd., 1977, as Traité historique harmonique); Formation et transformations du langage musical (1954); Chronologie musicale: I, années 300 à 1599 (1955); éd. Précis de musicologie (1958; 2nd éd., rev., 1984); L’Imbroglio des modes (1960); 40, 000 ans de musique: L’Homme à la découverte de sa musique (1961; Eng. tr., 1964, as 40, 000 Years of Music: Man in Search of Music); Les Passions de J.S. Bach (1963; 2nd éd., rev., 1984); Tristan et Isolde de Wagner (1963; 2nd éd., 1972); Alia musica (1965); Expliquer l’harmonie? (Lausanne, 1967); La Musique et le signe (Lausanne, 1967); “La Flûte enchantée,” opéra maçonnique: Essai d’explication du livret et de la musique (1968; 2nd éd., aug., 1983; Eng. tr., 1971, as The Magic Flute, Masonic Opera); “L’Art de la fugue” de J.S. Bach. Étude critique des sources (1, 1971, II, 1972); Le “Carnaval” de Schumann (1971); Cours d’histoire de la musique (4 vols., 1972–90); Les Chorals d’orgue de Bach (1974); La Musique (Tours, 1975); Le Voyage d’hiver de Schubert (1975); Solfège-déchiffrage pour les jeunes pianistes (1975); Traité d’harmonie au clavier (1977); Parsifal de R. Wagner, opéra initiatique (1979); La Musique grecque antique (1979); De la musique à la musicologie...a l’occasion de son 70e anniversaire (1980); Eléments de philologie musicale (2 vols., 1985); with J. Viret, Le Symbolisme de la gamme (1988); Propos sans orthodoxie (1989); La musique et son langage (1996).

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Chailley, Jacques." Baker’s Biographical Dictionary of Musicians. . 13 Nov. 2018 <>.

"Chailley, Jacques." Baker’s Biographical Dictionary of Musicians. . (November 13, 2018).

"Chailley, Jacques." Baker’s Biographical Dictionary of Musicians. . Retrieved November 13, 2018 from

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

The Chicago Manual of Style

American Psychological Association

  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.