France has been an important cultural center of Europe, and the country has signifcantly contributed to the developemnt of European music and cinema. The earliest French influence on Western music is found in the plainsong of the Christian Church of the 8th to 10th century AD. French music dominated the art and music in Europe during the Middle Ages, contributed greatly in the development of European music in all its forms. France has produced several legendary composers in the field of classical music including famous pianist and composer Maurice Ravel, Claude Debussy and Hector Berlioz.
French has also contributed a lot to the development of modern western music, including jazz music. The French contribution to jazz music includes the work of Gypsy guitarist Django Reinhardt, and his partner, the violinist Stephane Grappelli. Jazz is still extremely popular in France.
French are very fond of music and dance, and as a result a wide range of music is popular in the country. Although half of all music albums bought in France are from British or American bands, the French also have their own original French songs.
Music of France is also greatly influenced by the styles brought by immigrants from Africa, Latin America and Asia. Algerian music rai found a large French audience, and an Algerian singer- Khaled's album shot to the top of the French charts in 1992. Modern western pop music has influenced the music in France in a significant way, and the country has seen the rise of popular French rock, hip-hop, and pop performers. A new generation of popular music in France combines sounds of Africa, the Caribbean, and Latin America. Among popular contemporary composers in France include the names of Olivier Messiaen (1908-92) and Pierre Boulez (1925-).