Impressionism in Debussy's Voiles

Essay by jljhjonathanHigh School, 11th gradeA+, November 2014

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Jonathan Lei Talbot 9th January 2013

Impressionism: Debussy's Voiles

Debussy was one of the main exponents of Impressionism in Music. What is Impressionism and how did Debussy use the musical elements in his music?

Instead of portraying the subject itself, Impressionism focuses on emphasizing "perception", and artists favoured suggestion of the subject over a direct and realistic depiction. Impressionism started in visual art, the movement begun by Paris-based painters, but soon it influenced other art forms such as music and literature. Many famous Impressionist artists include Claude Monet, Pierre-Auguste Renoir and Edouard Manet.[1: (Thompson, 2014)]

Monet's Impression, soleil levant (sunrise), 1872[2:,_Sunrise]

Claude Debussy is one of the most prominent composers amongst the many Impressionist composers, although he disliked being labeled as an Impressionist. He was argumentative and experimental, and his works departed from "mainstream" Classical/Romantic musical style. Debussy had a wide variety of influences from various art forms, including poets, writers and painters. The major influences which affected his musical language were Russian and Asian music (in particular the Javanese Gamelan), which he...