La Marseillaise - about this site

As far as I know this is still the only place on the web you'll find sheet music to La Marseillaise. It can no longer claim to be the only place for an English translation - there's one at, which I discuss in my other translations section. In any case, here's the story of this nonetheless near legendary site.

There're a few words about myself in case you're interested, and I have a bit of a rant about people not giving credit where it's due.

Thanks to
Thanks to
Bill Falls
Bill Falls is my new best friend after pointing out an horrendous, juvenile schoolboy type error that I made in my translation. Cheers Bill.
Isabel Loriente
For pointing out some typos.
John Collignon
For his help in finding a MIDI file.
For recommending a page with the sheet music and words.
Ronald A. Fournier
For giving me the idea to update my backround section.
Christian Scherer
For putting up the link most of you've followed.
Linda Reynolds
For submitting the Babelfish translation.
For setting me an interesting challenge - to find French songs suitable for 11 year-olds.
Patrick Botti
For recommending Berlioz's grandiose rendition, and for his kind comments.
For comments regarding my GIF files and for an entertaining (and heated) debate on the merits (or lack of same) of America On-Line and the French and Croatian football teams.
Janet Brennan
A J Ryan
Stéphane Jahn
Stéphane Roussan
Lou Nelson
Margaret Varra
For just writing to me with comments. I like people who write to me.
Sorry to
Sorry to
Prof. F-J Meissner
I couldn't find a Dutch or German translation, much less do one.
Geri and Ray
I didn't sing as they would have liked!
Jan Lattunen
I didn't know where to find an MP3 of Il est vraiment phénoménal.

It all started back in early 1996. Don't ask me why - I can't remember - but I wanted a transcription of La Marseillaise and I thought I'd have a good chance of finding one on some web page or other.

I was mistaken.

No site I could find had a transcription but in the end I was able to get hold of the sheet music thanks to a book I found in the Birmingham Central Library called National Anthems of the World. I decided I could set up my own Marseillaise site for the benefit of anyone else who might want a transcription, so I photocopied the book, scanned in the photocopies, and put them onto my web page. Humble beginnings indeed for a work of reference.

Later that month I came across Christian Scherer's AdmiNet site with its listing of the song's words. I decided I'd have a crack at translating them into English. Now my site had the sheet music and a translation. By now I had the idea that I could actually make a proper go at doing a Marseillaise site. I found a MIDI file and a bit of history from other sites. By 1997 people started to e-mail me, saying how cool they thought it was to do a translation of the French national anthem, and even saying I'd done a reasonable job. Positive feedback is always encouraging (unless you're a physicist) and I started to hatch plans for the site. I dug out audio files in several formats and uploaded them to the Geocities server. Unfortunately study concerns caught up with me and I found I had no time to update my pages. Those audio files were there for months before I even wrote a link to them!

Then in June 1998, inbetween watching the World Cup, I decided that enough was enough and that I'd have to start implementing all the suggestions I'd received. Serious work on the site started on June 22nd, the day England lost pitifully to Romania 2-1.

Jive it baby

A few months down the line and England have just lost pitifully again: to Scotland this time. Well we've qualified for Euro 2000 but I can't see us having a cat in hell's chance of winning it. Holland are my choice, but at the absurdly long odds of 20-1, Yugoslavia have got to be worth a tenner of anyone's money. Oh, right, back to the site blurb. The reason I mention this time frame is that I've now implemented a mod_jive version of this site. Jive, in case you didn't know is a ... hmm, perhaps you'd better take a look for yourself. Anyway, the Jived site lives at and because it's implemented using Apache handlers it's guaranteed to be up to date. Which means I don't have to remember to update it. And that's good, because I'd almost certainly forget.

About Iain Patterson

Iain, the translation smurf

So just who is this character who's devoted considerable time and effort to bringing you this site?

I'm Iain Patterson, aka the translation smurf, after my translations page which is called the World of the translation smurfs. I'm currently in the third and final year of a B.Sc. degree in Mathematical Sciences at the University of Birmingham and next year I'll be following the second year of Langues Étrangères Appliquées at the Université Lumière in Lyon.

Such credentials are, I vainly think, appropriate for translation work. As for my choice of La Marseillaise, this may lead you to think that I'm a francophile. Not really. Although I intend to live in Marseille I am not completely infatuated with France. Indeed, certain aspects of that fine country really get on my nerves. I just like the song.

Chile, a haven from oppression

This site may eventually (may! may!) be extended to cover the wonderful anthem of Chile. An audio file is already in place. You can download it here but be warned, it's a 3Mb file. Look out for the sheet music real soon (hey, it's already scanned!)

Browser recommendations

The site makes extensive use of Style Sheets and Javascript. I strongly recommend a fourth-generation browser. Internet Explorer 4 will do; my favourite is Netscape 4. Nonetheless, I realise that not everyone has one of these programmes, and I've gone to great lengths to ensure that owners of earlier versions of either browser can visit this site albeit with a loss of visual impact. Sorry users of other browsers but I can't guarantee compatibility. In theory all browsers work the same... In practice the differences between Microsoft and Netscape's products are so marked that you do literally have to write two different sets of code to get things to work in both. So much for the World-Wide Web. Sadly until these problems are sorted out, non-professional webmasters like myself just have to nail their colours on to whichever mast they choose and develop primarily for one standard. Personally I prefer Netscape.

Whichever your browser choice you should use a screen resolution of 800 x 600 or greater.

Intellectual copyright

A lot of work has gone into this site (although perhaps not as much as is needed). You will notice that I have collected all sorts of information from all sorts of places. You will also notice that I give credit for any piece of work which is not mine. Some people haven't been so kind. I've come across a load of pages out there which have just copied stuff straight off this site.

If you want to take things from here and put them on your own page, feel free to do so. But I would appreciate it if you gave credit where it's due and at least gave a link back to here. Unless of course your site contains more information than this one, in which case let me know so I can make some updates.

If you've bothered to read this far, please read this.

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