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Claude Debussy

French Project --- add youtube video, oops.

Jess Chadwick

on 2 November 2014

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Transcript of Claude Debussy

Claude Debussy

Claude Debussy was born on the 22nd August 1862 in a town just outside of Paris named Saint-Germain-en-Laye. He began piano lessons when he was only seven years old, then went on to study at the Conservatoire de Paris, a college of music and dance, for eleven years. From the beginning, Debussy was very experimental, favoring techniques such as dissonances (clashes), and whole-tone and pentationic scales, which weren't very popular at that time in music.

Claude Debussy est né le 22 Août 1862 à une ville proche de Paris, nommé Saint-Germain-en-Laye. Il a commencé cours de piano quand il avait sept ans, puis il a étudié au Conservatoire de Paris, un collège de la musique et de la danse, pour onze ans.
Debussy était très expérimentale, il aimait techniques comme des affrontements, et il a été associé à l'impressionnisme musique.
Debussy is widely regarded as one of the most influential composers of the 20th century. His tonality style and harmonies were influential to almost every major composer of the 20th century, particularly Maurice Ravel and Igor Stravinsky, not to mention many jazz musicians and minimal music composers. He also had a large impact on soundtrack composers such as John Williams because Debussy's colourful style translated and connected easily with emotion moments in motion picture scores.

Debussy had a wide range of influences, the most prominent being Russian composer Tchaikovsky. In addition to the Russian composers, one of Debussy's biggest influences was Richard Wagner. He was a German composer whose musical style introduced new ideas in harmony, operatic structure, and melodic process (leitmotif: short recurring musical phrase). Wagner also helped developed a style called atonality, meaning when a piece has no key or lacks tonal centre. This feature was often used in Debussy's music.

Debussy was just as influenced by art forms as he was by music. He had a strong interest in literature and visual art and used these styles to help individualise his own music. Debussy was heavily influenced by the French symbolist movement, an art movement from the 1880s that influenced art forms such as poetry, visual art, and theatre, which believed that art should represent the complete truth that can only be described indirectly.
French Project

Claude Debussy
"I am trying to do 'something different'- in a way realities- what the imbeciles call `impressionism' is a term which is as poorly used as possible, particularly by art critics."
I really enjoyed doing my French Project on Claude Debussy because I found out lots about him that I didn't know. Also learning the piano piece was interesting because it was different to other projects I've done before and felt less like homework. Hope you enjoyed it.

J'ai aimé faire mon projet français sur Claude Debussy parce que j'ai appris beaucoup de choses sur lui. Aussi, quand j'ai appris le pièce pour piano, il était intéressant parce qu'il était différent des autres projets que j'ai fait avant et ce n'était pas comme devoirs. J'espère que tu aimais ça.
Debussy composed for a wide range of instruments including full orchestras, voice, cello, saxophone, clarinet, baritone, flute, harp, viola, violin, and he's most famous for piano. His most famous compositions would included Nuages (for a full orchestra), Golliwogg's Cakewalk from his six-movement suite for solo piano, and Le Petit Nègre (1909).

In the 1890s, Debussy started to develop his own musical language, one of his earliest works The Deux Arabesques Suite shows this clearly. This suite contains one of Debussy's most popular pieces, Clair de Lune. Debussy's String Quartet in G minor (composed in 1893) explored more harmonies. In this work he used scales such as the whole-tone, which creates a sense of floating. Debussy was beginning to break away from the traditional A-B-A form, which had been overused in classical music since Joesph Haydn.
Later in Debussy's life he focused on writing for the piano. The set of pieces named Pour le piano (composed in 1901) used strong harmonies and textures which would later show importance in the style of jazz music. During this period Debussy gained more popularity because he was composing, conducting all over Europe, and also music critic. Some people have claimed that Debussy structured parts of his music mathematically, but this has never been proved.

There are many features of Debussy's music, which "established a new concept of tonality in European music." A few that he uses in majority of his pieces are parallel chords (non-functioning harmonies), whole-tone and pentatonic scales, atonality, dissonances, and aleatoric (chance). All these combined make up Debussy's indivual music style.
Musical Style and His Works



I decided to my project on Claude Debussy because I started learning a piano piece of his named The Little Negro and I was really interesting in his music style. We had also learnt a little bit about him for Junior Cert music and I found him really interesting.

J'ai fait mon projet français sur Claude Debussy parce que j'ai commencé à apprendre une pièce pour piano de Debussy son nom de The Little Negro et j'étais très intéressant dans son style de musique. Nous avions aussi appris un peu plus sur Debussy pour l'examen de la musique et j'ai pensé qu'il était intéressant.


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