Claude Debussy

 
 
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Claude Debussy
1862 - 1918

Claude Debussy.  [Online Image]  Available http://www.ipl.org/exhibit/mushist/twen/debussy.htm, June 11, 2001. 

Listen to  Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun.

Claude Debussy was born in 1862 and died in 1918 in France.  His family was poor and troubled and did not object when young Claude decided to become a musician and composer.  He began his musical studies at the age of 10.  He only worked hard when something interested him.  He loved harmony and composition, which helped him later in life as a composer.

Debussy's music is known as Impressionistic.  He was influenced by early forms of American jazz called ragtime, exotic instruments from Java, and Oriental art.  He was able to take old ideas and make them sound new and exciting.  He did this by using modes, 5-tone scales (pentatonic scales), and whole tone scales.  

Debussy was a master of harmony, rhythm, and musical construction.  His sensitivity to sound is matched only by that of Maurice Ravel.  One of Debussy's most famous masterpieces is a work for orchestra called La Mer (The Sea).  He is one of the musical giants of the 20th century

A wonderful selection of Debussy's works can be found at the Classical MIDI Archives or the Classical Music Page.

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