An aubade is a morning love song (as opposed to a serenade, which is in the evening), or a song or poem about lovers separating at dawn. It has also been defined as "a song or instrumental composition concerning, accompanying, or evoking daybreak".
In the strictest sense of the term, an aubade is a song from a door or window to a sleeping woman. Aubades are generally conflated with what are strictly called albas, which are exemplified by a dialogue between parting lovers, a refrain with the word alba, and a watchman warning the lovers of the approaching dawn.
The aubade gained in popularity again with the advent of the metaphysical fashion. John Donne's poem "The Sunne Rising" is an example of the aubade in English. Aubades were written from time to time into the 18th and 19th century. In the 20th century, the focus of the aubade shifted from the genre's original specialized courtly love context into the more abstract theme of a human parting at daybreak. In this reformulated context several notable aubades were published in the 20th century, such as "Aubade" by Philip Larkin. French composers of the turn of the 20th century wrote a number of aubades. In 1883, the French composer Emmanuel Chabrier composed an "Aubade" for piano solo, inspired by a four-month visit to Spain. Maurice Ravel included a Spain-inspired aubade entitled "Alborada del gracioso" in his 1906 piano suite Miroirs. An aubade is the centerpiece of Erik Satie's 1915 piano suite Avant-dernières pensées. The composer Francis Poulenc later wrote (in concerto form) a piece titled Aubade; it premiered in 1929.
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