Michel Paul Guy de Chabanon

Michel Paul Guy de Chabanon
Born 1730
Saint-Domingue (now Haiti)
Died 10 June 1792
Occupation Violinist, composer, writer

Michel-Paul Guy de Chabanon (1730, Saint-Domingue – 1792, Paris) was a violinist, composer and writer on music theory and French literature. He was elected to the Académie des inscriptions et belles-lettres (1760) and the Académie française (1779).[1]


As fiction writer

Michel Paul Guy de Chabanon wrote poetry, elogies (notably that of Rameau), plays (including the tragedy of Éponine) and translations (adjudged by the 19th century Dictionnaire Bouillet as having "little fidelity [to the original text], but not lacking in elegance and facility").

As musician and music theorist

Michel Paul Guy de Chabanon was also a successful musician, playing the violin in the Concert des Amateurs under the direction of Joseph Bologne, chevalier de Saint-Georges.[2]

He was the author of an opera, Sémélé, tragédie lyrique, and of several works on music theory, of which the most valued are his commentaries on music in the work of Aristotle .[3] His double identity as a writer and a musician gave him a unique viewpoint on the links between music and language and in developing a philosophy of music of which his work was the expression. He also contributed to defining opera as a musical genre.[4]



Works on music theory



  1. Académie française
  2. "Such was Chabanon, who was in the Académie française and Académie des inscriptions, who played the violin very well, and who for a long while was second violin in the concert des amateurs, of which Saint-George was leaderFrançois-Joseph Fétis, Revue musicale [archive : XIXe siècle, Published by F. J. Fétis, Paris, 1829.
  3. "In the 46th volume of his "Mémoires de l'académie des inscriptions et belles-lettres de Paris", Chabanon gave a French translation of Aristotle's problems relating to music, with a commentary in which he clarifies the sense, generally very obscure. Chabanon's three mémoires extend from page 285 to 335." – François-Joseph Fétis, Biographie universelle des musiciens et bibliographie générale de la musique : XIXe siècle, Published by Leroux, Paris, 1835. Notice Bnf n° FRBNF30432155
  4. Deux visionnaires au siècle des Lumières : Michel-Paul-Guy de Chabanon (1730–1792) et Christoph Willibald Gluck (1714–1787)
  5. François-Joseph Fétis, Biographie universelle des musiciens et bibliographie générale de la musique [archive] : XIXe siècle, Publié par Firmin Didot, Paris, 1866. Notice Bnf n° [Url Bnf n° de la notice]
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