The 37 Livres d’Airs featuring various composers and published each year between 1658 and 1694 by Robert and later Christophe Ballard forms a corpus of around 1220 airs. They reflect the popularity of gallant poetry in France under Louis XIV. High society was passionate about music and loved the airs sérieux as an expression of their ideals.
A book of airs (a real Map of Tendre) was more than an enjoyable read, it was a delightful social tool. Ballard provided an anthology of each year’s finest airs, and composers also regularly published their own collections.