On this site you will find:

"Thanks again for the [Auvergnat] recordings. They are a HUGE help.
I feel so confident to do these songs now."
Kimberly Giordano, Seattle WA

Research on the Auvergnat dialect for the Canteloube repertoire

A compilation of Auvergnat pronunciation was published by Dr. Lori McCann in 1996 (Doctoral Thesis: see Sources and Location of the thesis below). This thesis is in my personal library and is part of the Library collection of the Vancouver Community College, King Edward Campus, in Vancouver, BC.

Dr. McCann provides:

  • a spelling summary of Auvergnat pronunciation linked to IPA (International Phonetic Alphabet) sound symbols
  • an IPA transcription and French and English translation of the songs of Series 1 and 3 of the Chants d’Auvergne arranged by Joseph Canteloube
  • a discussion of each song
  • the score of each song (Heugel Edition) with the IPA added to the score

The ten texts presented and discussed in the McCann dissertation are:

La Pastoura als camps
Trois bourrées
-- L’aïo dè rotso
-- Ound’ onorèn gorda?
-- Obal, din lou Limouzi

Lo Fiolairé
Passo pel prat
Lou Boussu
Malurous qu’o uno fenno

Notes and Sources
McCann clarifies that her IPA transcriptions of the dialect must serve as a guide to Auvergnat pronunciation (60), rather than an exact rendering of Auvergnat speech. It is normal for points of pronunciation to be variable – especially in isolated areas. Exact codification is never 100% possible. As well, differences will always abound in recordings.

Canteloube edited the various editions of his arrangements. Even so, there are spelling differences between the editions. Presumably, as McCann notes (12), Canteloube was aware of and accepted the various spellings, all of which apparently were his own transcriptions and in a way, his own version of the IPA.

McCann provides a list of nine singers’ recordings of the Canteloube songs. My own observations are based on three recordings listed with the Sources (see below) whose artists, in my opinion, have a strong claim to familiarity with the Auvergnat pronunciation.

  • Madeleine Grey premiered the songs and performed them with Canteloube.
  • Netania Davrath, noted for the authenticity of her interpretations of folksongs in several languages, studied the Auvergnat dialect for six months.
  • Véronique Gens spent her summers with family in the Auvergne, although contrary to CD jacket notes, the French singer was not born in the Auvergne.


Davrath, Netania. Songs of the Auvergne Arranged by Joseph Canteloube. Pierre de la Roche, conductor (no orchestra credited). New York: Vanguard Recording Society, VSD 713/14, 1972.

Grey, Madeleine. Songs of France: Chants d’Auvergne.  Elie Cohen, conductor (no orchestra credited). Recorded 1930. Reissued on CD.  Wadhurst, ENG: Pavilion Records Ltd, Pearl Label, Gem 0013, 1998.

Gens, Véronique. Chants d’Auvergne. Orchestre National de Lille, Jean-Claude Casadesus, conductor. Naxos, DDD 8.557491, 2004.

Gens, Véronique. Chants d’Auvergne 2 : Chants de France, Triptyque. Orchestre National de Lille, Serge Baudo, conductor. Naxos, DDD 8.570338, 2007.


Béronie, Nicolas. Dictionnaire du patois du Bas-Limousin (Corrèze) et plus particulièrement des environs de Tulle. Mis en ordre, augmenté et publié par Joseph-Anne Vialle. Tulle: J.-M. Drappeau, 1824.

Doniol, Henri. Les patois de la Basse Auvergne: leur grammaire et leur littérature. Paris: Maisonneuve, 1877.

Hardy, Ineke and Brodovitch, Elizabeth. “Tracking the Anagram: Preparing a Phonetic Blueprint of Troubadour Poetry”. From The Court Reconvenes: Courtly Literature Across the Disciplines. International Courtly Literature Society Proceedings. Ed. B. Altmann and C. Carroll, 2003. p. 199-214.

Levy, Emil. Petit dictionnaire provençal-français. Raphèle-Les-Arles : Culture Provençale et Méridionale, 1909; see also Heidelberg : Carl Winter, 1909.

McCann, Lori. A Critical Performing Edition of Selected Songs from Chants d’Auvergne. Collected and Harmonized by Joseph Canteloube. Doctoral Thesis, University of Cincinnati, 1996.

Steubing, Deborah. The Setting of the Auvergnat Dialect Folk Songs by Joseph Canteloube in his Chants d’Auvergne: An Analysis of the Modal Aspects of the Pure Folk Songs and Canteloube’s Diatonic/Pentatonic Accompaniments.  Doctoral Thesis, University of Texas, 2001.

McCann Dissertation Location

Author: McCann, Lori E.
Title: A Critical Performing Edition of Selected Songs from 'Chants D'Auvergne' Collected and Harmonized by Joseph Canteloube.

Thesis submitted to the Division of Graduate Studies and Research of the University of Cincinnati, June 1996.  University of Cincinnati Libraries: 404-300493111

Call no. Music C.U. 151.M96.M222. (vtls 76267)
UMI Dissertation Abstracts Database: UMI Number: 9637380