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Claude Debussy

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Ben M-H

on 17 June 2014

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Transcript of Claude Debussy

Achille-Claude Debussy

August 22 1862 - March 25th 1918
Even as just a nine year old boy Debussy showed talent on the piano
He was mainly taught and motivated by Madame Maute who had worked with the revolutionary pianist Frederic Chopin
In 1873 he entered the Paris conservatory of music at the age of eleven
In 1884 he won "The Grand Prix de Rome" with his composition "L'Enfant prodigue"
At the conservatory he studied both Piano and composition
Debussy was born into a poor family
He had five siblings of which he was the oldest
His parents decided to finance some piano lessons when he was 7
His father was Manuel-Achille Debussy, an owner of a china shop.
His mother was Victorine Manoury Debussy, a seamstress
she hired him to play duets with her and teach her children
during the summer he would travel with her to her many estates throughout Europe
In his traveling he met a singer named Blanche Vasnier and fell in love with her which gave a more romantic tone to much of his earlier music
Despite his poor background Russian millionnaire Nadezhda Filaretovna von Meck discovered him
Debussy's childhood was torn and fragmented by drama and highly contrasting experiences
Nadezhda Filaretovna von Meck
Blanche Vasnier
Clair de Lune is a perfect example of this innocent romance
After he won the Grand Prix de Rome he was given the rights to a mansion for three years and resources for composition
he stayed there for three years
while there he studied the music Wagner and his opera's which became a heavy influence in his music
however he felt holed up in this estate and left
he returned to Blanche Vasnier
Claude was with many women
One of his many mistresses Gabrielle threatened to commit suicide
His first wife, Rosalie Texier (a dress maker even shot herself, though not fatally)
after this he was haunted with un diagnosed PTSD and suicidal thoughts
Debussy had a child named Claude-Emma illegitimately in 1905
In 1904 he had divorced his first wife
He married Emma's mother in turn
In 1867 the family moved to Paris
In 1870 his pregnant mother and him fled from the Franco-Prussion war and went to live with his paternal aunt
There his aunt paid for his first piano lessons, with a violinist named Cerutti in his early forties

Works Cited
Bio.com. A&E Networks Television. Web. 05 June 2014. <http://www.biography.com/people/claude-debussy-9269290#awesm=~oGjIpWQSJYRSlo>.
"Claude Debussy." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 06 Oct. 2014. Web. 10 June 2014. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Claude_Debussy>.
Digital image. Blogspot. Web. 5 June 2014. <http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-l2t2N6rkizE/UhUw3ZgowaI/AAAAAAAAEb8/DbS0y6JsQrQ/s1600/Claude-Debussy-Pictures11.jpg>.
Digital image. Superstock. Web. 5 June 2014. <http://wwwdelivery.superstock.com/WI/223/4069/PreviewComp/SuperStock_4069-6800.jpg>.
Lockspeiser, Edward. "Claude Debussy (French Composer)." Encyclopedia Britannica Online. Encyclopedia Britannica, 24 Jan. 2014. Web. 05 June 2014.
Portrait of Blanche Vasnier. Digital image. Web. 6 June 2014. <Blanche Vasnier>.
Portrait of Blanche Vasnier. Digital image. Web. 6 June 2014. <http://37.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_lo6w92SZBY1qidnqfo1_500.jpg>.
Portrait of Debussy and Emma. Digital image. Find a Grave. Web. 9 June 2014. <Portrait of Debussy and Emma. Digital image. Find a Grave. N.p., n.d. Web. 9 June 2014. .>.
Portrait of Nadezhda Filaretovna von Mer. Digital image. Web. 6 June 2014. <http://pique.blog.cz/1012/nadezda-von-meck-cajkovskeho-mecenaska-i-cast>.
SuperStock. Digital image. Superstock. Web. 5 June 2014. <http://wwwdelivery.superstock.com/WI/223/4069/PreviewComp/SuperStock_4069-5843.jpg>.
At the conservatory Debussy studied with many teachers
He studied composition with
Ernest Guiraud
He studied music history/theory with
Louis-Albert Bourgault-Ducoudray
He studied harmony with
Emilie Durand
He studied piano with
Antoine François Marmontel
He Studied organ with
César Franck
He studied solfege with
Albert Lavignac
Earlier Years
As a child Debussy was known to question authority.
He preferred unusual dissonances and harmonies that the conservatory taught to avoid
He had an extreme gift for sight reading music and could have made that his career
Even though he traveled with the patroness of Tchaikovsky as a child his style did not rub off on him
Debussy always had a very unusual style of composition.

He wanted to capture the dream state and present it through music.
This created incomplete almost drifting music that caused mixed responses.

According to my piano teacher, Greg Hayes
'When playing Debussy you sometimes have to not think of yourself singing a melody but more providing a background and creating ripples' (that's paraphrased)
Debussy wanted to try everything
He wrote operas, some innocent, one a horror story based on Edgar Allen Poe
He would try different tonalities, harmonies and intervals all as experimentation
Here is the Tchaikovsky
To show the differences in styles of music here I'll play you thirty seconds of Tchaikovsky
In Debussy's later years..
He was in a desperate pursuit to express illusions and fantasies.
His most famous work of the time would be his Cello Sonata, which is dramatic illustrious and almost seems like a fantasy
He even created a 21 note scale however it wasn't adapted into mainstream composition
It was designed to execrate sense of tonality and melody
Debussy also ignored the idea that string instruments were meant for melodies
In one piece called Le Mer He uses strings simply to create the sound of waves building and falling, and has brass and woodwinds lead the melody
and written about the sea because his parents always had suggested he join the navy
Debussy's Le
Mer is also unusually unique for it is said that it was designed after the golden ratio
He created an alter ego
named “Monsieur Croche,”
he had conversations about life and art and the importance of all things

In conclusion..
As I hope you've started to realize, Debussy was a revolutionary composer that put an end to an era of experimentation and discoveries in music and had a mind that simply thought different than the rest
at one point he was even kicked out of the Paris Conservatory, but later (once he was famous) they invited him back but he rejected the invitation
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