France (1799-1815)


Upon becoming the head of the French government in 1799, Napoleon abolished “La Marseillaise” as the national anthem (possibly because it was a relic of the revolution, possibly because Napoleon did not like the author Rouget de Lisle), and another song, which was also popular during the revolution, “Le Chant du Départ” came to be used as the national anthem of the time.

Originally titled “Hymn de la Liberté” (Hymn of Freedom), but given its new title by Robspierre, is an epic tableau consisting of seven verses, each one sung by a different character: a wife, a mother, children, warriors, old men, etc.

Despite it no longer being the official anthem of France, the song is still popular with the military of France today. Valéry Giscard d’Estaing used it as his campaign song when he was campaigning for French President in 1974, and, as president, would often have troops play the song.

Special thanks to: David Brouca for some of this information and Brian Hardy for the sheet music.