Impressionism was a vital part of the late 1800s as a way to express yourself in music more clearly because it focuses on using different instruments to create a picture into the listeners mind. The creator of impressionism was Claude Debussy. All pieces made during the impressionism era was made to convey or create an image in the listeners mind. This essay will focus on the different aspects of Impressionism like a history of Impressionism and who is Debussy and what was his importance to the music period.
(History of Impressionism)
Impressionism was created in the 19th century lasting for a few decades (1870-1950). Some important composers are: Claude Debussy Ottorino Respighi Erik Satie. This period of music was created because Debussy wanted to reflect on impressionist schools in France through his music. During this period several different chords and scales were created such as whole-tone chords and chromaticism. Impressionism is also known as the rhetoric romanticism disrupting the standard motion of music. Impressionist music try use symbolic harmonies to create the effect of different scenarios in one’s head. Composers tried to reject realism in their work to create a surreal effect. (Elements of Impressionism.) Tone color also known as timbre is the quality of music but not categorized as pitch or amplitude. Some uses of timbre are in voile Debussy used more higher pitched keys on the piano rather than lower. Fluidity is another element used impressionism; sequencing different measures into a certain sequence to create an image. Atmosphere is used to create a visual effect in the listeners mind. These elements when used together creates the different images and emotions the composers are trying to create in their work. Composers use the techniques often because it adds to the effect of their piece.
(Difference between Romanticism and Impressionism)
Romanticism focused on emphasizing inspiration, subjectivity and the primacy of the individual. While on creating a surreal scene in a persons mind. Some key differences are Impressionism sounds more triumphant and curios while romanticism sounds more happy and energetic. Some similarities are both periods started in late 19th century France and Britain. Both used nature as influences for their pieces for orchestra. Both started with a group of composers wanting to convert the art period into a music genre. The Romanticism period tried to focus on romantics in their pieces while Impressionism did not focus on any type of typical theme they used a multitude of genres into one piece. (Life of Debussy) Debussy was born on August 22 1862 died on 25 march 1915. He was a gifted pianist at age 9 and went to a conservatory in Paris studying piano and composition. He came from a poor family with five other siblings, Debussy showed an early liking to the piano and wanted to succeed and learn more about how to play it so he began taking lessons at age 7. When he was 22 years old he won the Prix de Rome paying for another 2 years of study.
(Composition style.) The piece Hommage a voiles uses the whole tone scale and mainly uses sharp notes. It repeats a lot of its notes to emphasize on how the waves repeat on the boat in the sea. Many scales were used in the creation of impressionism such as Dorian, Whole tone and pentatonic scale. Debussy wanted to make sure that Impressionism was a different style to other kinds of music. He created to 21 note scale made to drown the sense of tonality though most only used the 12 note system of Schoenberg. He used more symbolic terms when writing his pieces. He thought that woodwinds would should not be used for compositions involving fireworks. People were certain that he would have taken part in the leading movements in compositions leading up to World War 1. Impressionists used this chord called a thrill was released the chord and from its function to follow the melody. In impressionism, chords were considered as melodic entities. The Major Minor was used a lot by impressionism composers like Richard Wagner. Many chords were considered unusual to most composers because they were heard before and many techniques used in them were quite new. There was a lack of tonal center used in impressionism pieces.
So in conclusion Impressionism used a wide range of techniques and styles. That was why it was really because it of all the different ways it could be play so a lot of people can like the piece that they think can relate to or a certain thing they like. Scales and tones were major parts in impressionist pieces and could determine if the piece fitted the thing they were trying to convey or if the piece was right for the topic they chose. Debussy created many pieces such as Hommage a voiles, nocturnes and nouges.