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Topic: What make this composer so unique?

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  1. #1
    Senior Member Styxx's Avatar
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    Question What make this composer so unique?

    I can sit here for hours and listen to as many of the great composers as I wish but there is one I really wonder about.
    Claude Debussy. No matter how many times I listen to his music I find myself becoming lost on a journey somewhere out at sea. And, believe me getting lost is not hard for me. So, I had to do a search on the man and read more about him. One thing that struck me was his uncanny resemblance to our very own Shazbot. I wonder if there is any blood line there at all. They both seem to have this sea and ocean thingy going on in their respective works. Awe, maybe not.
    Here is another question for you guys ... why on earth do you put up with me?

    Getting back to Claude Van Dam .....................
    Styxx

  2. #2

    Re: What make this composer so unique?

    Well, one thing about Debussey is that he makes use of modes, which other composers of his time did not tend to do. In the "Pictures From A Sketchbook" demo here on the GPO site, I can hear a bit of Mixolydian mode in the harp about a third of the way in. In fact, I sort of remember reading somewhere that he took pride in using modes to fool people into thinking he was innovative--modes, of course, had been used a lot in early Western music, but not so much during his time.

    Another thing about him is his ability to orchestrate. He just seems to know what instruments sound best where.

    If you like Debussey, try out Yoko Kanno. She has a lot of Debussey inspiration, and I think a lot of the same "stuff" exists in both composers' pieces.

    I wish I could describe things in more educated terms, but I'm only a quarter of the way through my theory classes.

  3. #3

    Re: What make this composer so unique?

    Quote Originally Posted by Styxx
    I can sit here for hours and listen to as many of the great composers as I wish but there is one I really wonder about.
    Claude Debussy. No matter how many times I listen to his music I find myself becoming lost on a journey somewhere out at sea. And, believe me getting lost is not hard for me. So, I had to do a search on the man and read more about him. One thing that struck me was his uncanny resemblance to our very own Shazbot. I wonder if there is any blood line there at all. They both seem to have this sea and ocean thingy going on in their respective works. Awe, maybe not.
    Here is another question for you guys ... why on earth do you put up with me?

    Getting back to Claude Van Dam .....................

    Just so you do not misunderstand this answer. let me say that I have listened to music for a long lifetime and Debussy is one of my very favorites.

    However, I would not therefore ask the question you ask, because most of the known great composers are as magical and "good" as he is. No, the more interesting and useful question you should ask is, "what is it about me that finds Debussy so particularly attractive?"

    Ed

  4. #4

    Re: What make this composer so unique?

    Quote Originally Posted by Edi
    No, the more interesting and useful question you should ask is, "what is it about me that finds Debussy so particularly attractive?"
    This is a very interesting way to "turn around" the original question...

    Alessandro

  5. #5
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    Cool Re: What make this composer so unique?

    I, too, am particularly vulnerable to the seductive musical qualities of Debussy. As young struggling piano student at age 12, one of my uncles stopped by for a family visit and brought me the French edition of the piano score for "Claire de Lune". At first glance, it looked impossibly difficult. All those flats! To this day, it's the ONE piece of music that I could possibly sit down and play from beginning to end completely from memory.

    As my musical horizons opened to orchestral things, I found I had more and more respect for Claude and his contemporaries (and I have little or no French lineage). Discovery Ravel was an immense pleasure and then to find that both of those fine folks had arrangement of almost all of their piece for literally almost any combination of pianos and other ensembles. Amazing!

    As a teenager, I think the first LP recording I got of Debussy included the three Nocturnes and to this day, "Fetes" ramains one of my favorites.

    Edi's turning the question around to "what makes me find Debussy so attractive" (to slightly paraphrase) delves into the realm of what makes any particular composer the "favorite". For me, I can't have just one favorite -- the list is far too long. I find nuances of even slightly "obscure" composers like Ibert, But there are many of the "greats" who have their own particular success and it is wider than just a cult following. Surely, there is something inherently to which to attribute their lasting qualities.

    Here are some names off the "beaten path": Gade, Joh Field, Gabriel Faure, Maurice Durufle, David Diamon, Paul Creston, George Chadwick, Elliott Carter, Ernest Bloch, Franz Berwald, Alberto Ginastera, Alfred Hill, Hans Werner Heinze, Edouard Lalo, Colin McPhee, Bohuslav Martinu, Darius Milhaud, Robert Simpson, Zemlinksy. Go over the list. In my humble opinion, each one of them has a "hit" -- a particular piece which is their "spotlight". Jewels all over the place, just there to be discovered.

    my $0.02 of musical philosphy (and exposure) for the day ... KevinKauai

  6. #6

    Re: What make this composer so unique?

    Well, I will pipe in with a little Debussy story that might (hopefully) be a little amusing. I was (and still am) pretty clueless about classical music, but I liked synthesized sounds. I was watching this show called "Stargazers" on public television and there was this amazing synth piece that was made for the subject matter of the show.

    I tried to hum this piece to people to find out what it was and people basically thought I was crazy.

    After buying a bunch of wrong cd's, I contacted the television station and found out it was Tomita's realization of Debussy's Deux Arabesque. I think I still am fond of Tomita's version of that piece, but I have grown to respect the "real" versions of Debussy (although I have to admit, I am more of a Bach guy).

    JeffN

  7. #7

    Re: What make this composer so unique?

    Ah Yes Jeffn1, but do you remember the host's name of stargazer?

    His closing statement was allways, "I'm ___________, and remember, keep looking up."



    Far as Debussy goes. I have to admit I love his first Arabesque but, Claire de Lune has got to be one of the most boring piano pieces I've ever played. I know many of you love it but this is just my opinion. I beleive the name came about when the piece was first played at a local tavern. The translation from french to english litteraly translates to "Clear the Saloon", wich is exactly what happend half way through the piece. ( No not really, I am just making a bad joke.)
    The other most boring piano piece that I've played is Scarf Dance by Cecile Chaminade. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz oh is it over yet?

    I prefer to go along with Erick Satie who made fun of impresionistic composers of the time. He really got carried away making fun of them with his instructions and titles but made a valid point of what they were doing.
    His musical satires, though written to make fun of impresionistic music, actually influenced the modern composers such as Ravel, Milhaud and Poulenc.
    Oops,I better get to the point here before I step on every ones opinions.

    I think that a lot of Debussy is boring but he wrote a few things that are great also.
    Edi hit it on the head. It all depends on the listener.

    There are pieces that I think are great that others may think are absolute carp. I personally enjoy the beautifull structure of Elliot Carter. It sounds like chaos to some but I hear it as structured music that can evoke emotion from deep within.

    Please, nobody beat me for bad mouthing Debussy. "Viva le Debussy"

    I'm going to crawl back under the rock from wich I came. I seem to do less damage there.

    No pecadillo intended.
    88fingers
    (The Nut )

    www.waveav8.com

  8. #8

    Re: What make this composer so unique?

    [QUOTE=88fingers]Ah Yes Jeffn1, but do you remember the host's name of stargazer?

    His closing statement was allways, "I'm ___________, and remember, keep looking up."QUOTE]

    The funny thing is, I think I only saw the show once, but I became obsessed about finding that piece of music.

    JeffN

  9. #9
    Moderator/Developer Brian2112's Avatar
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    Re: What make this composer so unique?

    Check out Claude Debussy’s “Images” for the piano. I use it to test piano patches. At first listen, it sounds like a cat walking across the piano keys. But what makes this piece really interesting for me is that it is, perhaps, the definitive musical work that was constructed using (and I’m not kidding here)… 1.6180339887498948482.

    Brian
    "So what if some parts of life are a crap shoot? Get out there and shoot the crap." -- Neil Peart
    Hint:1.6180339887498948482 Φ

  10. #10

    Re: What make this composer so unique?

    Brain, I mean Brian, you're nuts.

    I've always thought Debussy was underrated when held up to the notoriety that other classical composers receive.

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