Questions to answer (Plan on re-listening to the music we heard in class as an aid to answering these questions):
1.List ways that Debussy’s music reflects French (as opposed to German) cultural characteristics.
2.What is the movement in visual art with which Debussy is associated? What are the philosophical questions that it seeks to answer concerning human experience?
3.What are four ways that Debussy was influential to the course of music in the 20th Century?
4.How is Debussy’s use of non-chord tones and non-functional harmony similar to Impressionist painting?
5.Why are Debussy’s pieces, movement titles, tempo markings, and other instructions to the performer in French? What are some of the effects this has on the performer?
6.What is the example given in the notes to this assignment of a parallel between Debussy’s and Schoenberg’s compositional process?
6.Listen at the end of the second movement to 14:25-15:05. Describe what is happening harmonically. Based on this move, what can we say about the aesthetic of
Schoenberg’s use of dissonance and Debussy’s use dissonance?
b. How does this reflect Expressionism vs. Impressionism?
c. What might the similarity in their use of dissonance be? (not in the notes)
7.What was Debussy’s experience with non-western music, and how did it influence his compositions?
b.What compositional features of his music can be traced back to that influence?
8.Describe the poetic movement known as ‘Symbolism’, and how does it fit with Debussy’s musical aesthetic?
9.Which two pieces did we study in class that were the strongest evidence of this influence? (include the dates of composition)
10.What evidence can you find that he incorporated this Asian style into his own music, rather than simply imitating it?
11.What are the ways that La mer fits the definition of a symphony?
12.In what way was its subject innovative?
13.What are some examples of the parallels we made in class between Debussy’s orchestration and Impressionist painting?
14.T or F, Debussy spent a lot of time at the sea while writing La mer.
15.What are some of the musical effects Debussy uses to portray water and the movement of water?
16.Describe some of the orchestrational effects that are unique to this work, and how they are analogous to impressionist painting.
17.What quality do augmented chords have that makes them particularly appropriate in describing water?
18.Describe the characteristic of the melodic shapes we discussed in class in La mer, and explain why they are so appropriate to his subject.
19.Why are odd numbered subdivisions of the pulse better at creating the effect of water?
20.Describe the overall metric feel of La Cathedral Engoutie, and what two references it evokes.
21.How does Debussy’s affection for parallel chords fit so well with his subject? What are the two types of parallel motion, and how do they affect the listener
22.What was the summary of musical development that we discussed in class, and how does Debussy fit in to this?