Images in Debussy's Piano Music

Topics: Claude Debussy, Musical notation, Suite bergamasque Pages: 3 (1158 words) Published: November 26, 2010
Claude Debussy was born August 22, 1862 in Saint-Germain-en-Laye. He was educated in music at the Paris Conservatory, and from the beginning he challenged the rules of music; his tendencies towards dissonance and free-form were frowned upon by his professors. He believed the classical Venetian structures were too restricting, and he began composing his distinct style of music. Debussy is known for his parallel chords, use of whole- tone scales and unexpected modulations, but better than that is his reinvention of the use of imagery in music, manifested in unique ways. His tone-color and pictures are so rich that the listener may believe themselves to have synesthesia. It is simply amazing the vision that his music can create from only a pianoforte keyboard. “Estampes” are three pieces written in 1903. The whimsicalness and liveliness take the mood of specific foreign places. “Pagodes”, the first piece, takes the listener to East Asia. Pagodas are temples build with a ornate and sparkling dome roof. The song, likewise, is stabilized with a solid bass tone, but above it ordained with elaborate notes and an upward-curving ascending melody. The melody is centered around the pentatonic scale- characteristic of oriental music, giving a distinct eastern atmosphere, along with the chime and gong-like sounds. “Soiree Dans Grenade” is a song for Spain. The listener travels there with the sound of bells that would be heard dingling around donkey’s necks, the traditional Moorish melody inspiration and the rhythm reminiscent of strumming. The rhymic structure is the classic Spanish habanera, with strong anticipation towards the second beat. The third of the “Estampes” piece takes us back to Debussy’s homeland: France. Debussy’s “Images”, are a set of two groups of three pieces, written in 1905 and 1907, respectively. They are some of Debussy’s most abstract work. The first three are performed much more regularly than the last three, if any of the “Images “ are performed at...
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