Françoise DEPERSIN, Rhetorical figures and Baroque instrumental pieces: the example of the Tombeau fait à Paris sur la mort de Monsieur Blancheroche by Froberger

On the basis of a study of contemporary texts, the paper examines how musical rhetorical figures were conceived, in order to understand in what a musical process can be considered rhetorical. For the two authors considered, Maugars and Descartes, the figure appears as an irregularity with respect to a norm, creating for the listener the surprise of a disappointed expectation. Musical rhetorical figures can hence be identified, in an instrumental piece, on the basis of exclusively musical criteria, without resorting to texts confirming their presence. Froberger’s Tombeau proves rich in figures eluding compositional norms of the time: irregular treatment of dissonance, deviation from expected cadential formulas, provoking tension and frustration in the listener. The norm, however, projecting a horizon of expectation, can be created by the work itself. In the Tombeau, larger passages oppose the general luthé style of the piece and, by the strangeness of their writing, give hint of their representative intention. The insistent final pedal can therefore be interpreted, together with the title “Tombeau” itself, as an imitation of the sounding of the funeral knell, while the terminal descending scale delineates the fall in death.