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Jan Raymar Rosales

on 9 June 2015

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In music, a style initiated by French composer Claude Debussy at the end of the 19th century. The term, which is somewhat vague in reference to music, was introduced by analogy with contemporaneous French painting; it was disliked by Debussy himself.
Elements often termed impressionistic include static harmony, emphasis on instrumental timbres that creates a shimmering interplay of “colours,” melodies that lack directed motion, surface ornamentation that obscures or substitutes for melody, and an avoidance of traditional musical form. Impressionism can be seen as a reaction against the rhetoric of Romanticism, disrupting the forward motion of standard harmonic progressions.
The other composer most often associated with Impressionism is Maurice Ravel. Impressionistic passages are common in earlier music by Frédéric Chopin, Franz Liszt, and Richard Wagner, and in music by later composers such as Charles Ives, Béla Bartók, and George Gershwin.
Prominent Musical Characteristics:
Modal Influences
Whole-Tone Scale
Pentatonic Scale
Impressionist Harmony
Parallel Motion
Escaped Chords
A French movement in the late 19th and early 20th cent. It was begun by Debussy in reaction to the dramatic and dynamic emotionalism of romantic music, especially that of Wagner.
A philosophical and aesthetic term borrowed from late 19th century French painting after Monet’s Impression, Sunrise. Musicians were labeled impressionists by analogy to the impressionist painters who use starkly contrasting colors, effect of light on an object blurry foreground and background, flattening perspective to make us focus our attention on the overall impression.
Claude Debussy and Maurice Ravel are two leading figures in impressionism though Debussy rejected this label (he mentioned in his letter that “imbeciles call ‘impressionism
Debussy’s impressionist works typically “evoke a mood, feeling, atmosphere, or scene” by creating musical images through motives, harmony, exotic scales (e.g. whole-tone scale, pentatonic scales), instrumental timbre and other elements
whereas Ravel’s impressionist or symbolist works are essentially represented in a more refined and lucid way
Above all, the Impressionist musical language, techniques, and aesthetic had a direct and profound influence on the revolutionary Modern period that followed.
Was a modernist movement, initially in poetry and painting, originating in Germany at the beginning of the 20th century. Its typical trait is to present the world solely from a subjective perspective, distorting it radically for emotional effect in order to evoke moods or ideas.
The style extended to a wide range of the arts, including expressionist architecture, painting, literature, theatre, dance, film and
The term expressionism "was probably first applied to music in 1918, especially to Schoenberg", because like the painter Wassily Kandinsky (1866–1944) he avoided "traditional forms of beauty" to convey powerful feelings in his music (Sadie 1991, 244).
Characteristics of expressionism in music

* episodic, fragmentary form and structure
* abrupt musical language
* clashing dissonances
* interest in common man
* tonality, triadic harmony, and consonance vs.
dissonance are not valid anymore
* abstract procedures
* great emotional intensity

Above all, what makes the composers different from each other?
Arnold Schoenberg, Anton Webern and Alban Berg are the classic examples sought to us atonal music for gross emotional effect.
on the other hand,
Claude Debussy and Maurice Ravel are examples put the focus on atmosphere and general feeling rather then strong emotion.
Prepared by:

Mr. Jan Raymar O. Rosales

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