More about Louis Couperin

One of the fascinating things about Louis Couperin's music is that he wrote "measureless" Preludes for many of his suites. Normally music is divided into measures each of which is divided into so many beats. So the Passacaille might be in 3/4 time, meaning that there are 3 beats to each measure and that a quarter note (the 4 in 3/4) receives one beat.

In Louis's measureless pieces there were no measures and the music looks like a piece of abstract art. Here's a section of one of these pieces.

The next music is a performance of this very piece so you can follow along with the performer. You might have to minimize the player if it blocks your view.Listen!

The performer is left up to determine the speed, since there are not really instruction books for the performance of Baroque music. Louis probably wanted you to sound as though you were making it up as you went along.

Katherine Roberts, harpsichord; Title: Music of Louis Couperin; Koch International label

Return to classroom Go back to initial page of site