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Debussy and Orientalism Essay Example

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Debussy and Orientalism

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Debussy and Orientalism. It was in this suite that Clair de Lune which is one famous pieces was composed, he later moved on to more daring harmonic techniques such where he used the Phrygian mode and other less than standard scales including the "floating" whole tone comprised of ethereal harmony. Gradually, he began to distance himself from the customary A-B-A form with its reiterations and intensifications that had been a pillar of orthodox scores since the era of Haydn’s time.In the midpoint of his career was the last years of the 19th century were he released the three nocturnes, which was sharply contrasting with Wagnerian opera (François and Roy). After ten years of work, his Pelleas te Melisande proved to be his only complete opera which was based on a play by Maurice Maeterlinck, it was an instant hit and it influenced many young composers such as Maurice Ravel, his works brought to new rhythm and fluidity and color that had been retrospectively absent in western composition.

In the La mer Essays, between 1903 to 1905, the music had a more philharmonic format with an ending whose subjects were borrowed from the initial thought to the intermediate period. According to his critics, this was seen as a less subtle step in his progress, to some it was even perceived as negative.True to his pupil perchance for trying new things and gravitating from the conventional, he let himself be influenced by a new type of music in the west that most modern composers would rather have kept from their scores. This was Javanese gamelan; an oriental style that he found to be both appealing and intriguing. The orchestra, which composed bells gongs and percussions, mesmerized him so much that his style noticeably changed as he implemented parts of this composition in his later music. Admittedly, he did not refer to the gamelan scales or ensemble; however, his sensitive and refined melodies were overtly achieved with the application of oriental exotic scales. Of all the composers in his time, he was the only one to have an entire tone comprising entirely of tones and an octave spilt into six equal parts in singular and unique display of musical artistry unprecedented in his era. According to Rudolph Reti, Debussys biggest accomplishment was the creation of an enriched monophony founded on the melodic toners and harmonics that were radically different. Debussy and Orientalism.

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Works Cited

Day-OConnell, Jeremy. Pentatonicism from the eighteenth century to Debussy. Rochester, N.Y : University Rochester Press, 2007.Print

Edward Lockspeiser, Debussy: His Life and Mind. New York: The Macmillan Company, 1962, Print

François Lesure and Roy Howat. "Debussy, Claude." Grove Music Online. Oxford Music Online. 2009.Web. Dec. 17, 2014.

Hugh, Brent. "Claude Debussy and the Javanese Gamelan." Brent Hugh Website (2003). < http://brenthugh.com/debnotes/debussy-gamelan.pdf >

Mark McFarland, "Transpositional Combination and Aggregate Formation in Debussy,"Music Theory Spectrum 27 no. 2 (Fall 2005): 187–220. Print

Tamagawa, Kiyoshi. Echoes from the East: The Javanese Gamelan and its Influence on the Music of Claude Debussy. D.M.A. Texas: The University of Texas.1988.Print

Thompson, Oscar, Debussy: Man and Artist, New York: Tudor Publishing Company, 1940.Print

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preview essay on Debussy and Orientalism
  • Pages: 10 (2500 words)
  • Document Type: Essay
  • Subject: Music
  • Level: Masters
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