What does chanterelle mean?

January 2, 2005 at 04:17 AM · I looked it up on Google and it means poisonous mushroom. I'm not sure that is what the composers meant when they wrote chanterelle. It exists in the Thais Meditation near the end.

Replies (35)

January 2, 2005 at 04:28 AM · I'd guess 'singing'.

January 2, 2005 at 04:22 AM · Chanter (chantress) is singer, vocalist; also, this word is related to high register from a bagpipe.

January 2, 2005 at 04:32 AM · Found in my dictionary: Chanterelle is the highest pitched string from string instruments (I translated it from russian).

January 2, 2005 at 06:42 AM · My teacher told me E string.

January 2, 2005 at 07:24 AM · I believe it refers to the harmonic on the E at the end.

January 2, 2005 at 08:59 PM · shoot i remember going over this once before. I think we decided it meant to play it bell-like and clear. although i could be totally making that up.

January 2, 2005 at 09:33 PM · Aha, I thought my Oxford had been "borrowed" but it's back on the shelf. "Chanterelle: see 'cantino'. Cantino: German (Sangseite) the highest-pitched string of a stringed instrument, especially the E string of the violin." So does that mean "chanterelle" would mean the A string on the viola etc.? "Sangseite" literally means "the singing string".

Ah wait, I've found more (finally an excuse to use the polyglot again).

Chanterelle, for the LUTE it's the "Sangseite" (singing string) but for VIOLIN it's listed as E string. I even had it in Russian, but the system won't accept Cyrillic. It looked like it meant "high string" too. ("visok")

So in notation would that mean that music is to be played on the highest string AND be songlike?

January 3, 2005 at 02:18 AM · The last 2 notes in Thais Meditation are played 0/3 0/4 harmonics on the A string.


It's played on the highest string and be songlike. Listen to a recording of Perlmann playing Thais Meditation and you can listen to it clearly how he slides to that high A on the E string (about 8 measures from the end).



January 2, 2005 at 10:25 PM · unfortunately neither of the harmonics are played on the e string. perhaps massanet didnt write them as harmonics, or maybe he just didnt quite understand the violin/harmonics stuff.

January 3, 2005 at 02:19 AM · No Owen, the harmonics are played on the A string, but the Chanterelle is on the E string.


January 3, 2005 at 10:32 PM · shoot, i dont have my music with me. is it the long A that is held out up on the e string?

January 3, 2005 at 11:36 PM · Hi,

Since French is my first language and all. Actually, the chanterelle is the name that the French gave to the E string for it's soprano singing color. And for the record, the mushroom is not poisonous, but actually a great delicacy and quite exepensive might I add.

Cheers everyone!

January 4, 2005 at 12:18 AM · Yes, it's a high A on the E.

I love mushrooms also! When I go to Portugal, I always take some time to visit a good friend up north. He picks mushrooms in the forests for the local restaurants with the help of 2 trained pigs he has! I love going for long walks with him and watch the pigs snif and dig for the mushrooms!

Plus at the end of the day his family and mine get together and have a great meal that includes the fresh mushrooms we found.

Lots of fun and good eating!



January 4, 2005 at 04:48 PM · Chanterelle is the highest string of any instrument of the violin family ( from violin to double bass) while the lowest string is named Bourdon.

January 4, 2005 at 06:06 PM · Thanks all for responding. Are there any interesting names for the two middle strings?

corrected translation for chanterelle: widely distributed edible mushroom rich yellow in color with a smooth cap and a pleasant apricot aroma

I believe one page mentioned that one type was poisonous. But on further research, it seems there is confusion with a False Chanterelle, (Hygrophoropsis aurantiaca) that is poisonous and another one that is actually not a chanterelle but a poisonous jack-o-lantern (Omphalotus olearius).

January 5, 2005 at 09:06 AM · Hi Clara, I don't think the second and third string has specific name but I'm not sure since it's unemployed terms nowadays.

As for the mushrom, Chanterelle is more commonly known as Girolle in France which is rather expansive,edible mushrom while "la fausse girolle" ,the false girolle,quiet similar to Girolle ,is poisonous


October 6, 2006 at 04:09 PM · Heh, I was just talking about this with my teacher last night and promised to research it. Shoulda known that a Google search would bring me right back home. :)

Anyway, I'm reviving this thread because I don't see a conclusive answer in any of the responses. If "Chanterelle" really refers to the highest string (i.e. E), why is it on the note which everyone seems to agree should be a harmonic on the A string? And since there isn't a 4-0 or 3-0 marking, could it mean that it's really intended to be played as a stopped note on the E?

Not that I plan to do that, but I just don't understand the use of the term in this context.

October 6, 2006 at 05:54 PM · Chanterelle (French f.) the highest string on a violin (the E string) or on a member of the lute family

Whoever wrote the marking wants it played on the E string.

From a very good free online music dictionary:


October 10, 2006 at 06:41 AM · Here is a good opportunity to remind the harmonics notation( (not always respected)

harmonics have three components

-1 the base note written with regular notation

-2 the played noted (slightly touched) noted as diamond note

-3 the resulting (heard) sound) marked with cue note

If the base note is an open string this note is omitted in the notation

if the played note sound is similar to the resulting sound the note is written with regular notation with a small circle above

however the resulting sound may be omitted making things confused.

A played on the chanterelle might be E at the octave and should be noted as regular note with the small circle above -right?

October 10, 2006 at 12:55 PM · Hi Clara: As a french speaking person, I can tell you that the word "chanterelle" means the "E" string.

Eugène Ysaie had a summer house were all famous musicians of the time use to gathered to do some chamber music. He called his house "La Chanterelle"

The real meaning is "corde la plus fine sur un instrument à cordes"or, in english, "The thinest string on a string instrument"...

The violin, the viola, the cello, all of these instrument have their own chanterelle.

Best wishes, Marc

October 10, 2006 at 02:55 PM · What instruction should the player infer from this? That the note is stopped, and should sound bell-like, with no vibrato?

October 10, 2006 at 10:53 PM · Greetings,

the connection between Christian`s delicacy and the nether regions of the e string is not coincidental. There is not `mushroom` for the fingers up there....



October 11, 2006 at 12:02 PM · Hi Carolyn,

The post is getting confused.Assuming that your question refers to harmonics ,not to mushroom,I would say that,like choice of strings in general, there is a sound color(timbre) difference according to the string and , at a less degree,position in which you play harmonics.I would bet the original question refered to Thais meditation edited by Marsick.

Funny thing,harmonics are also named flageolet--The French name of a kind of beans.Violin is definetely related to french cooking

October 11, 2006 at 02:33 PM · All kinds of cooking! Ask I. Perlman again!

October 11, 2006 at 05:00 PM · Yeah, this post is getting really confused. All I (and I assume Clare, when she posted it originally) wanted to know was this:

- Does anyone play that high A as anything OTHER than a harmonic on the A string?

- Why do we all do that, if "chanterelle" means "E string" in this context? Are we ignoring the editorial marking?

It's fine if we are, I just want to understand what the marking means!

October 13, 2006 at 12:29 PM · Karin ,

as I explained above the desired note is not A but E . You slightly touch A on the E string(harmonics) that yields E two octave higher.

The confusing thing is that a note with ° above sometimes means the expected harmonics sound.All depend on the context

October 16, 2006 at 02:56 PM · This discussion reminds me that a Milstein recording of the Meditation from Thais ends with the chanterelle note.

October 16, 2006 at 07:21 PM · Alain, I have never heard that note played as an E.

Carolyn, the chanterelle is marked not on the last note, but a couple of lines before it. Are you saying that Milstein cuts the piece short, or that he plays the final D on the E string?

October 17, 2006 at 04:17 PM · Hi Karin,

I am not sure we are talking about the same thing.

On my version of Thais edited by marsick ,Heugel publication, there is an A5 on chanterelle, 8 bars before the end but it does not refer to harmonics.


October 17, 2006 at 02:34 PM · Karin: The Milstein recording cuts it short, omitting the last six measures and ending on the note marked "chanterelle."

October 17, 2006 at 07:00 PM · chanterelle is delicious. especially with pasta


October 17, 2006 at 08:29 PM · do you still have her phone number?

October 17, 2006 at 08:58 PM · oooh, nice one Buri! :)

October 17, 2006 at 10:28 PM · It's interesting how French words can come to be absorbed into the language. Eg "oboe" came from French "haut bois", then "hoboy" in Shakespearean times. Or "curfew" - "couvre feux". I have my own intimation that "carte blanche" will eventually turn into "Kate Blanchett" - because she thinks she has.

So when Marc writes "The violin, the viola, the cello, all of these instrument have their own chanterelle", this gives us an insight into the derivation of the *English* epithet for the viola A string, which perfectly evokes the slightly nasal timbre of that register of the instrument - (the) "**** from Hell"

October 18, 2006 at 07:52 AM · Hi Alain,

We're talking about the same note, 8 bars before the end, which in all the editions I've seen is written as A6 (space above the 4th ledger line above the staff). One could play this as a natural harmonic two octaves above the A string, or as a stopped note on the E string, e.g. 4th finger in 7th position. The impression I'm getting from the "chanterelle" marking is that the latter is correct, though the former is what everyone seems to do.

As I understood your explanation, though, you have the note written as A5, intended as a natural harmonic E6 played on the E string? That's just weird to me and doesn't make sense in the context at all. The note has to be an A, regardless of how you play it...

Carolyn---thanks for the clarification. Strange to end on the fifth like that, but maybe I just don't comprehend Milstein's genius.

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