Claude Debussy And Impressionist Music Essay

Claude Debussy And Impressionist Music Essay

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Shortly after visual artists began exhibiting their work, people in other forms of art such as, literature and music, began trying to incorporate the impressionist principles into their own compositions. A group of poets known as, the Symbolists began poetry in which the words that were used were used purely for their sounds and not for their actual meaning. Symbolists tried to convey impression by suggestion instead of definition. Music compositions from the Impressionism period contained some of the same characteristics of impressionist paintings. Impressionist composers and its music at the time were breaking away from classical techniques. In the impressionism realm, Debussy is to impressionist music as Monet is to impressionist painting, meaning in that they are both the father figures of their medium in which they portray the impressionist style. Impressionist music was very much like the paintings; the music stirred emotions to their audience. Claude Debussy was one of the most prominent figures working within the field of impressionist music but he never considered himself an Impressionist. In fact, he instead would consider himself a “Realist”(Classical 1). A realist by definition would “represent subject matter truthfully, without artificiality and avoiding artistic conventions, implausible, exotic and supernatural elements.” Debussy’s style of music and works are closely similar to those of the impressionists. For instance, in order to achieve an effect that was comparable to that painted by the visual artists, Debussy emphasized those musical elements that could be immediately grasped and understood the instant they were heard, namely timbre and harmonic color. Claude Debussy worked very hard at creating new and inter...


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...se of incorporating a brown and grey palette reflects the dissonance of the music and the large waves crashing along the cliff plays along with the movement of the music. The piece has a consonant sound but the dynamic buildings are intermittent until it builds back up to a climax. The majestic tone at the end of the song evokes images of tall, powerful swells. The crash symbols return suggesting the wind forcing the waves into a collision.
Claude Monet and Claude Debussy both lived during the period of Impressionism and sought to capture the essence of the subject matter instead of focusing on the details that others aspired and dedicated themselves to. Both artists captured the variety of temperaments of the sea, Debussy through music using the three contrasting movements of La Mer, and Monet through countless paintings he created of the sea in various occasions.

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