• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

To What extent is "Prlude l'aprs-midi d'un faune" representative of the 20th Century?

Extracts from this document...


To What extent is "Pr�lude � l'apr�s-midi d'un faune" representative of the 20th Century? The Pr�lude was composed between 1892-94 and was based on the poem written by Mallarm�, close friend of Debussy since 1887. Originally, this one movement orchestral piece was going to have a prelude, an interlude and a "paraphrase finale" but only the prelude was ever written. This was Debussy's first mayor experiment in writing for orchestra and is said to be the first example of impressionism in an orchestral piece. Debussy, born in 1862, was one of the most potent influences on the course of music in the twentieth century, for example his rich use of timbre was of great influence on composers like John Cage. His style of composition is designed to create descriptive impressions by evoking moods through rich, varied harmonies and timbres. The melodies, harmonies, colours and rhythms make the musical language completely different from that of the German Romantic tradition (e.g. Wagner). He equals, in contrast with the German tradition, the importance of timbre with the importance of harmony and melody. ...read more.


Colouristic harmony can be seen in bars 103-104, where beneath the chromatic oboe solo are the chords of Cmayor, Am, Cmayor7th,F#m, F#m7 th. Here the chords of Cmayor and F# are as distant from each other as possible, the are a tritone apart and the chords are chosen only because of their sound. Debussy uses a non-functional harmony which consists of successions rather than progressions of unrelated alternating chords (bar 28). This effect makes the music sound unresolved and meandering which again recreates the sensation of a dream. However functional harmony is not absent in the Pr�lude, he uses a perfect cadence in Emayor in bars 105-106, this is a symbolic resolution of all the unresolved diminished chords, 7th chords etc... ; here all ideas come to rest. . Another way in which the music is unified is by the recurrence of the initial flute theme, though each time it is subtly altered in terms of shape and accompaniment. Melodies are in no clear key or rhythm and are ambiguously related to the harmony; i.e. ...read more.


This is why Debussy is described as the first modern composer as he was the first one to evoke moods through harmony and tone colour, much unlike previous composers such as Strauss who emphasised melody and form. Also the fact that the music is not programmatic (such as Wagner (Tristan und Isolde) or Strauss and it's symphonic poems) but only suggest and gives impressions of a story makes the music a 20th century piece. The orchestration has some aspects which could be considered to be of the 20th century. The strings are playing very low in their usual register (bar 28 violin 1). To enrich the sonorous effect the strings use shimmering tremolando (sur la touch� bar 11). The cellos (bar 24) and woodwind (bar 69) are playing very high in their register creating a very rich timbre. This use of instruments was not in the German romantic tradition and it broke the rules of orchestration of the moment. However there are some romantic characteristics in the Pr�lude such as the chromatic harmony (bar 13-14), the repletion of a melody with different orchestration (bar 22) The piece has complex rhythms, the melodic variaton (the "leitmotiv" such as the ascending minor 4th). ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Music section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Music essays

  1. The Impressionist Era and its Influences.

    Some of the era's most reputed masterpieces are: Five Orchestral Pieces - Arnold Schoenberg, The Rite of Spring - Igor Stravinsky, Jeux - Claude Debussy, La Mer - Claude Debussy, and Clair de Lune - Claude Debussy. These pieces all became widely known and loved by the world in the early 1900's.

  2. How does Jacques Loussier’s interpretation of Toccata and Fugue in D Minor differ from ...

    have other influences which allow us to work together in different ways, which so much more freedom."9 With this in mind, it should be interesting to see how his interpretation of Toccata and Fugue in D Minor differs from the original.

  1. A Comparative Analytical Commentary of Debussys Syrinx and Prlude l'Aprs-midi d'un Faune

    This is also the reason why some audiences comment that because of the "airy" sound of such a setting the descending phrases at the start of "Syrinx" also give the impression of a fall, as if Pan is flying down from above.

  2. How the Flute has developed throughout time up to the point of Boehm and ...

    In 1832, a German Flute Maker by the name of Theobald Boehm made an improved conical bore flute and in 1847 he patented his cylindrical-bore flute, which is the model in widest use in the 20th century. The cylindrical Boehm flute is made of metal or wood and has 13

  1. The Effect of

    about death is sung - "In him shall we die at the right time, when he wills" - it becomes minor and the ending of the Coro is left unresolved suggesting that death is not the end. This leads into the Tenor Arioso who ponders the inevitability of our death,

  2. Analysis/Appraisal -Somewhere Only We Know

    The first verse follows straight after. The piano bass line is very simple, all 8ve notes, and repeated chords throughout. This is fairly similar to Somewhere Only We Know, and follows the style that Keane employ. In Contrast to this, Imagine is a soft slow piece and is led by piano.

  1. French Flute Music between 1935 and 1955: Varèse, Messiaen and Jolivet

    In contrast to both Mozart and Haydn, Beethoven regarded the flute in an orchestra as indispensable. All of his symphonies had two flutes scored and in his fifth, sixth and ninth Beethoven included an extra piccolo. This is a tradition that has continued and most orchestras, even in the present day, generally use two flutes and a piccolo.

  2. The impact of California Smoking Bar Banned to the bar owners in Orange County.

    In this vain, throughout the chapter, themes are developed which form the information relating to against the law. In analyzing the literature relating to the impact of california smoking bar banned to bar owners and bar employees, this chapter firstly provides the overview of the impact of the ban as it affects to the bars.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work