World Languages & Cultures, 2012
  • Debussy and Impressionism: Breaking the Mold
    Eric Smith
    Mentor: Barbara G. Keller


    Claude Debussy was one of the most influential composers of the impressionistic movement and had a great effect of the world of music. I explore how Debussy was influenced by music of the era, separating what he disliked, the order and structure that had been so common with the Baroque period, from what inspired him, such as the works of Franz Liszt which broke from the norm of what was accepted in the compositional world of the time. Debussy was inspired by this change and also broke from tradition and used dissonance and intervals which were uncommon and not “approved” of by the musical community. This break from structure and order brought about the impressionistic movement and made way for more experimental music for many years. I investigate Debussy’s influences and how he then influenced the impressionistic movement and modern music. This exemplifies the importance and influence of Claude Debussy and the impressionistic movement as a whole.