What is a Soirée?

There are many French words that just don’t translate very well. Think of champagne or rendezvous. Sometimes, these are things you actually have to experience before you can explain what they mean to someone else. Our team recently attended a soirée, so we decided to put together a post to help you understand:

  • what a soirée is
  • what happens at a soirée
  • how you can have one of your own!

Basically, it’s a Party

Unless you speak French, you might be wondering how to pronounce soirée. It’s nothing like it looks: you say it like swa-ray. If you can throw in a trill on the “r”, then why not? And yes, when you write it, you have to include the accent on the first “e”. The word comes from the French soir, which means “evening”.

So, a soirée is a party that happens in the evening. They usually start early and end late – more on that later. But this isn’t just any old party. You see, like anything French, you’ve got to mix sophistication in with the fun…

So What Goes On?

You may have already guessed, but there’s no better way to elevate an evening than fine music! One of the most famous examples of a soirée is the regular meet-ups that the great composer Franz Schubert used to arrange for his musical friends in 19th-century Vienna. There’s even a name for these legendary get-togethers: Schubertiade. You can learn more about those here.

But you don’t have to be the greatest composer of the age to enjoy a good soirée. All you need is a small group of friends, a pleasant evening and, ideally, a piano. Typically, everyone comes prepared to play a little something. But the important thing is that it’s not a competition, or a concert, or a recital. It’s a chance to share, learn and deepen your love of music in good company.

A Soirée with Global House of Music

Three members of our Global House family were lucky enough to be invited to a soirée over the weekend, held by one of our very own students. It was an evening of fun and fine music, featuring piano, strings and even an accordion. The event started at dusk and ended very late. Once people began playing, they just couldn’t stop! It is our hope that this will be the first of many, and that as we return to normality, you’ll be hosting your own music events in your home!

How to Host a Soirée

So whether you’re just starting out, or you’re an experienced player, here are some ideas you can use to throw your own soirée:

Draw up a list of friends or family, even if it’s just mom and dad, brother and sister. Remember, you want to keep it small.Choose a theme so everyone knows how to dress. You can choose any theme: black tie, floral, or white! The main thing is that everyone makes an effort. This is a special event after all.Invite anyone who would like to play, to give you a list of 3 items. Remember, all levels of ability are welcome!Write a program with all the items. Once your guests arrive, call them up one by one to present their pieces. Keep things interesting by not sticking to the order.Be prepared to take some videos: sometimes the best music happens without the pressure of concert halls and exams!

We would love to hear about your own soirée experiments!