Shades of Indonesia in the Works of Claude Debussy Cover Image

Shades of Indonesia in the Works of Claude Debussy
Shades of Indonesia in the Works of Claude Debussy

Author(s): Mădălina Dana Rucsanda, Noémi Karácsony, Alexandra Belibou
Subject(s): Fine Arts / Performing Arts, Music
Published by: Editura Muzicală
Keywords: gamelan; Indonesian; Javanese; exoticism; orientalism; Debussy;

Summary/Abstract: The aim of the present paper is to analyse the influence Indonesian music (mainly from Java and Bali) had on the compositional technique of French composer Claude Debussy. First encountered by the composer at the Exposition Universelle of 1889, the originality of the gamelan, its instruments, timbres, and complex structure fascinated Debussy, who would often recall this music and refer to it later in his life. The analysis of certain musical works composed after this musical encounter and the comparison with previous compositions revealed that the gamelan inspired Debussy to explore new techniques of music composition and introduce novel sounds and structures in his works. The present study mentions several features that are particular for gamelan music and analyses the manner in which Debussy employs these in his compositions. Throughout this study the authors also seek to find an answer to the question whether Debussy employed these gamelan influences because he aimed for innovation in sound and composition, or because he desired to create a deeper connection between gamelan evocations and the images or concepts depicted in his music, revealing their hidden meaning through particular musical structures.

  • Issue Year: IX/2023
  • Issue No: 1
  • Page Range: 376-390
  • Page Count: 15
  • Language: English