Research Project “Music in the Royal Residences (Musi2R)” (2014-2015)

The Centre de recherche du château de Versailles was involved in a research project of regional interest, “Music in the Royal Residences (Musi2R)”, led by the Centre de Musique Baroque de Versailles.

The many royal and aristocratic residences, stretching from the Loire Valley (Amboise, Blois or Chambord) to the Île-de-France (Fontainebleau, Saint-Germain-en-Laye, the Louvre, the Tuileries, and Versailles), where the king would stay with his court, form a group of estates that maintained especially strong relationships from the 16th to the 18th century. In these centres of power and leisure, life at court was regularly marked by great musical and visual entertainments. The aural landscape of the court of France, that is the music played in these places or the sounds that accompanied the lives of those who lived there, is still not well known, nor is it brought to the attention of visitors very often. This intangible cultural heritage could however be of interest to a wider public if it were tackled in a very real and direct way through musical and sound experiences held in the heritage sites themselves where these lives and events took place. To achieve this, we must coordinate heritage protagonists and artisans in complementary professions, who only rarely have the opportunity to work together in a structured way: artists, heritage curators, tour operators, specialists in digital tools, researchers. Thanks to new technologies, it is now possible to immerse the public in these long-forgotten soundscapes. This enhanced experience is particularly well suited to those visitors who wish to connect with heritage sites, as it adds a new and unusual dimension to their history.

The Musi2R project aims to create a permanent network consisting of pilot sites but which are destined to incorporate properties of every size. It aims to help create, within the Chambord-Châteaux Project for Heritage Information, a new model for promoting both tangible and intangible cultural heritage, which will benefit the regional tourist economy. Finally, it plans to create new ways to bring music into the royal residences. Inspired by the conditions for musical performances during the Ancien Regime (when the musicians had to adapt to very different types of spaces, from a pleasure pavilion to a monumental building, or even the gardens), the partner groups will carry out experiments with a view to creating a new form of public concert.

Aims and Objectives

  • to provide curators and those responsible for royal residences with scientific and artistic expertise to develop sound content for their own site;
  • to invent new forms of sensory perception of heritage sites (in coordination with the Cubiculum Musicæ Project);
  • to promote the intangible cultural heritage of France’s Centre region (musical repertoires and specific practices, the way of life in royal and aristocratic residences, etc.);
  • to work with musicians to recreate the form of the traditional concert by re-evaluating instruments and devices available at that time, and to involve the public directly with these unprecedented experiences;
  • to offer education programmes for school pupils and music lovers.


Project leader: Vasco Zara, lecturer in musicology at the Université of Bourgogne, researcher at the Centre d’Études Supérieures de la Renaissance in Tours (France).

Partners: The Centre d’Études Supérieures de la Renaissance in Tours (UMR 7323), the laboratory ESR-DYPAC of the Université de Versailles Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines, The château royal de Blois, The musée d’Archéologie nationale et domaine national de Saint-Germain-en-Laye, the Établissement public du château de Fontainebleau,The domaine national de Chambord and the Centre de recherche du château de Versailles.

Proposed involvement

As well as participating in the general scientific project, members of the CRCV are be involved with the project by:

  • financing a 18-month research session as part of the Almanach database, and recording all the events of the court;
  • member participation in the project seminars;
  • hosting a seminar on its premises.
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Château de Versailles
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