Essay: Debussy, Schoenberg, Stravinsky an Analysis

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Debussy, Schoenberg, Stravinsky

An Analysis of the Compositional Styles of Debussy, Schoenberg, and Stravinsky

Claude Debussy, Arnold Schoenberg, and Igor Stravinsky all had a kind of modern compositional style. Debussy's style was considered to be impressionistic, although he himself never cared for the term. Schoenberg, whose 12-tone system essentially inverted counterpoint (to indicate the modern's removal from past masters), gave every note equal importance, allowing music to be written without a key. Stravinsky was another musical revolutionary, whose famous Rite of Spring played with rhythm and, like the artwork of Kandinsky, thoroughly cut itself off from past structures. This paper will assess the relative significance and influence of these three composers on the 20th century and show how their compositional styles reflect one another's.

Debussy's style, for example, has been noted for its lack of tonality -- a fact that the listener is sometimes distracted from by stirring passages in which a melody arises. He often coupled tones together, producing an effect of bitonality -- prefiguring in a sense the work of American composer Charles Ives, who would couple melodies together for a discordant effect. Debussy, moreover, was not afraid to make entire use of the pentatonic scale and would leap in modulation without deference to harmony. Debussy was conscious of trying to do something original -- and it may be argued that he was attempting to put into music what Turner was able to put onto canvas: the mysterious. Nonetheless, impressionism (ala Van Gogh) was in vogue at the time of Debussy, and it is no surprise if the composer's style be identified with the name.

Schoenberg, on the other hand, devised the 12-tone system and fundamentally altered the way 20th century composers wrote music: the technique of using 12 notes without a key is, in fact, what… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Debussy, Schoenberg, Stravinsky an Analysis.  (2011, September 21).  Retrieved November 21, 2019, from

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"Debussy, Schoenberg, Stravinsky an Analysis."  September 21, 2011.  Accessed November 21, 2019.