2016 Student Research Conference:
29th Annual Student Research Conference

A Muse Divided: Symbolist Versus Impressionist Influences in Selected Compositions by Claude Debussy
Darby L. Dachroeden
Prof. Shirley McKamie, Faculty Mentor

Although he is often considered the father of Impressionist music, Debussy preferred to call himself a Symbolist composer; however, this description of him is not entirely accurate. His works are much more heavily influenced by the Impressionist music due to their accurate representation of natural phenomena, which is not found in the Symbolist approach. Two of his preludes for piano, La Cathédrale Engloutie and Les Collines d'Anacapri, represent this Impressionist style by portraying the lifestyle and stories of certain groups of people by translating them directly into music. Another piano piece, Estampes, even more directly represents certain natural and cultural phenomena in a very beautiful and musical manner. These types of pieces would not have likely been found in the Symbolist genre, where the focus was more on escaping reality than enjoying it.

Keywords: Claude Debussy, piano, Impressionism, Symbolism


Presentation Type: Performance Art

Session: 2-5
Time: 2:00

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