The first movement includes a piece in the key of F called “Prélude.” This piece is indicative of most preludes and has a festive and energetic feel. The piano piece “Clair de Lune” is tied to the other pieces with a common motive that helps to create a sense of cohesiveness. Be on the lookout for your Britannica newsletter to get trusted stories delivered right to your inbox. The Prelude Voiles is in compound ternary form. However, whole-tone relationships are used by him in conjunction with, or as part of, a much more complex group of melodic and harmonic usages -- interlocking pentatonic structures , for example, based on a fundamental principle of symmetry. Another process occurred concurrently with the assimilation of folk music sources. Debussy's Prelude to "The Afternoon of a Faun" was later choreographed by the great - dancer Vaslav Nijinksy. Example 3: Diminished thirds in whole-tone passages. Later composers to use it include Alban Berg in his Violin Concerto, and Béla Bartók in his String Quartet No. Sit at a piano and play all of the white and black keys consecutively to play consecutive half steps. If Debussy wants to emulate trumpets and then recapitulate his whole-tone scale pattern forcefully on a piano, he just goes for it. Measures 48 to 64 Whole tone scale. True. A classic “dream sequence” sound, the whole tone scale is just that - all whole steps. It’s a very distinctive sound that creates a blurred and eerie sound. Subtitled ‘Trois esquisses symphonique’ (Three symphonic sketches), ‘La mer’ occupies an interesting position within the development of orchestral writing. Another great example is … Whole-tone harmony, with its similarly structured chords and absence of semitones, lacks the harmonic contrasts and resolutions of the major-minor system and its different keys; with whole-tone harmony, the sense of key centre depends instead on repetition and melodic emphasis. “Clair de Lune” comes in at the third movement and provides a lilting lyrical contrast to the second movement. The motif consists of five notes that move down and up in a twisting motion before descending at the end. This results in a whole tone scale. Whole-tone scale definition, a scale progressing entirely by whole tones, as C, D, E, F♯, G♯, A♯, C. See more. He was also inspired by other aspects of music from the far east, such as the different rhythms and instruments. Debussy is considered a part of the Impressionist movement in music that was considered a subset of music within the Romantic Period. Professor of Music, Emeritus, Tufts University. Click over a section for the analysis. Exotic Eastern scales came into play, such as the whole-tone scale, which Debussy was fascinated by. By signing up for this email, you are agreeing to news, offers, and information from Encyclopaedia Britannica. Debussy's impact was far reaching. Impressionist composers such as Claude Debussy were quite fond of the scale and used it often in their compositions.The most famous use of the whole tone scale in popular music is in the intro of Stevie Wonder’s You Are The Sunshine Of My Life. My brand new premium course: https://pianotv.net/design Limited-time sale — 30% off only until June 6th, 2020! Debussy uses the whole-tone scale a lot in his music, but he was not the first to do so. a) Italy b) France c) Paris d) Germany 10) Which of the following is a characteristic of Debussy's music? In the mid-nineteenth century composers began to exploit the octatonic scale (a symmetrical scale that alternates half steps and whole-steps) as the basis of triadic progression. The composition is the third movement of a larger suite called the “Suite bergamasque.”. Updates? What instrument plays the opening of Prelude to "The Afternoon of a Faun", heard in this excerpt? https://www.britannica.com/art/whole-tone-scale. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_pieces_which_use_the_whole_tone_scale A very well known example of a song that uses the whole tone scale is Stevie Wonder’s You Are The Sunshine Of My Life. Whole tone scales are quite rare in music but there are some examples that are worth checking out. Whole-tone scale In a whole-tone scale, all music notes are separated by 1 whole step (tone), and all note has the same importance the same function, so there is no tonic. Microtonal scales, requiring intervals smaller than the conventional half step, also appeared sporadically in the 20th century. Most likely, Debussy has changed his mind about the style of the piece and wanted to improve it based on his current ability. However, the composition was significantly revised in 1890 prior to publication. Measures 42 to 47 Pentatonic scale. The other movements replicate these intervals on differing pitch levels. Several examples of the whole-tone scale are found in Claude Debussy's work. Clair de lune has unusual features. The whole-tone scale (comprising six whole steps) was used prominently by French composer Claude Debussy and others, especially in France and England. Because there are no semitones, all thirds are major, and thus all triads are augmented. Microtonal scales, requiring intervals smaller than the conventional half step, also appeared sporadically in the 20th century. The pentatonic scale is a 5-note scale (penta = 5) that originates with folk music from Scotland, to Ireland, to China. • Form. "Bells Through the Leaves," another very clear example of Debussy's use of gamelan techniques, is also one of his most thoroughgoing uses of the whole tone scale. 1), as well as Dukas’s opera Ariane et Barbe-Bleue (1907). Our editors will review what you’ve submitted and determine whether to revise the article. For instance, the second movement starts on a G. The first movement starts on F, but instead of moving down a whole step to E-flat, Debussy moves down a half step to E. The complete set of movements entails four distinct pieces. The following example faithfully reproduces a passage from that work. In 1662, Johann Rudolf Ahle wrote a melody to the lyrics of Franz Joachim Burmeister's "Es ist genug" (It is enough), beginning it with four notes of the whole-tone scale on the four syllables. Debussy does not only use traditional church modes (e.g. 5. Measure 4 resolves to an E major chord, with Ab now acting as a G#, Fb as E, and Cb as B. An early use of the octatonic scale is found in the Chopin Mazurka, Opus 50#3 (1841). Voiles translates as sails or veils; the piece might be about either, or both. Russian composers such as Glinka in his opera Ruslan and Ludmila and Borodin in Prince Igor used the whole-tone scale. Voiles, Claude Debussy José Rodríguez Alvira. I suggest to use it just on the dominant 7th chord. This is a special type of mode that is frequently found in early twentieth century music. Debussy’s piano piece “Clair de Lune” illustrates the unique whole tone style of the French composer. Whole-tone scale, in music, a scalar arrangement of pitches, each separated from the next by a whole-tone step (or whole step), in contradistinction to the chromatic scale (consisting entirely of half steps, also called semitones) and the various diatonic scales, such as the major and minor scales (which are different arrangements of whole and half steps). Measures 1 to 41 Whole tone scale. Corrections? Describe Debussy Melody and Harmony - exotic scales/modes Prelude from Pour le piano (a aeolian, C whole tone, a aeolian) - pentatonic - Pagodes/Voiles (B section) - octatonic - Feuilles Mortes (tall diminished chords; Les sons et les parfums - Melodic octatonic use. Whole tone scale : Debussy scale. Russian. The scale provides a nebulous, unsettled feeling with its lack of fa-mi or ti-do resolution. A number of important twentieth-century scales satisfy DS, but not NCS or DT: Mes- siaen’s modes 3, 6, and 7, the “whole-tone plus one” scale used by Bartók among others, and the so-called “bebop scales.”26Whether to treat these as supersets of the locally diatonic scales is a matter that very much de- pends on analytical context. See S > Scales for related entries Search • … Debussy based Violes (Prelude # for Piano) on the whole tone scale. However, the composition was significantly revised in 1890 prior to publication. Non-diatonic scales based on modes and seemingly abstract intervals such as the half step and whole step proved tantalizing to composers during the last part of the nineteenth, and early part of the twentieth century. The Whole Tone Scale – a scalar arrangement (scale) of pitches, each separated from the next by a whole-tone step (or whole step); and has six tones per octave, as … This simple piece for piano was started in 1880 and published 15 years later in 1905. In Western art music, the whole-tone scale is associated with the decline of functional harmony in the late 19th century. This interesting piece from Debussy I think is one of the best examples of the whole tone scale in classical music. Unless one uses double sharps or flats, it is difficult to avoid a diminished third when writing a whole tone passage. Specifically, the stylized formal relations of pitch, progression, and form that defined the tonal system were beginning to break apart. Whole-tone harmony thus became a means of suspending or dissolving the perception of tonality in music of this period. In music, tone are separated by equally spaced intervals called half steps. This simple piece for piano was started in 1880 and published 15 years later in 1905. Let us know if you have suggestions to improve this article (requires login). Whole tone scale – It contains only whole tones. The second movement “Menuet” involves two themes that contrast between light and playful and dark and mysterious moods. An important result of this travel was the use of folk modes, pentatonic scales, and whole tone scales derived from native music in works by composers such as Bartók, Stravinsky, and Debussy. The first four measures are shown below. As we can see right from the opening, Debussy is using the whole-tone scale: Click to enlarge. The whole tone scale enters in measure 3 when the A drops another half step to Ab (Ab, C, Gb) with a D and E in the melody, giving us an Ab7#11b13 (or just Ab7alt). Debussy avoided the formal recapitulations and developments of the This time, the theme doesn’t breathe, it shouts. In this work an octatonic scale (D-F-… The first known time the whole tone scale was used in a composition was in 1662 by Johann Rudolf Ahle. Since then it has been used often in classical music by composers such as Bach, Mozart, Berlioz, and Schubert. Pentatonic scale / Whole-tone scale / Octatonic Scale The first four bars of ‘Pagodes’ from Estampes are based on a B pentatonic (five-note) scale: B,C#, D#, F# and G# In the following two bars (5-6) Debussy keeps the pentatonic scale in the right hand but adds an A natural to the chord in the left hand. The first composers to begin experimenting with the chromatic alterations that imply whole-tone harmony within a generally tonal framework were Franz Liszt and Russian composers such as Mikhail Glinka, Modest Mussorgsky, and Aleksandr Borodin; these were followed in the early 20th century by the more attenuated tonal experiments of Anatoly Lyadov, Aleksandr Scriabin, and Vladimir Rebikov. Whole tone scale is used above all in Jazz music. To play whole steps, play every other key. ... Impressionist composers explored the whole-tone scale. The whole-tone scale has six notes separated from one another by a whole step. Below is an example of a whole-tone scale: The whole-tone scale is one of the modes of limited transposition, because there is only transposition of this mode. Some outstanding examples incorporating extensive whole-tone harmony are Debussy’s “Voiles” (1909; Préludes, Book 1, No. This results in a whole tone scale. This… Finally, Debussy ends the suite with “Passepied” a fast-paced dance that helps end the suite on a high note. Johann Sebastian Bach chose the chorale to end his cantata O Ewigkeit, du Donnerwort, BWV 60, set for four parts. Among microtonal structures, the most important, perhaps,…. Whole-tone patterning, with no leading tones or dominant harmony, became a distinctive aspect of the music of the French composers Claude Debussy, Paul Dukas, and others at the turn of the 20th century. a) Italy b) Paris c) Austria d) Germany 8) What musical term is defined as the lack of harmony among musical notes? Here is the opening idea; whole tones in thirds descending from #III to bVI, then via an octave displacement to bV: Click to enlarge. You’ll hear it in the first 10 seconds of the intro with its distinctive sound. Claude Debussy who wrote Clair de Lune use the whole-tone scale, instead of traditional scale of Western music (Claude Achille Debussy, 2020). Debussy is considered a part of the Impressionist movement in music that was considered a subset of music within the Romantic Period. He is one of the most important exponents of the whole tone scale in classical music history. Check it out below. Editor, The whole-tone scale (comprising six whole steps) was used prominently by French composer Claude Debussy and others, especially in France and England. It has often been suggested that the whole-tone scale, and its ambiguities, forms the basis of Debussy's music. Debussy and Ravel used this scale. 2) and “Cloches à travers les feuilles” (1907; Images, 2nd series, No. The title translate to “moonlight” in French. Even Brailoiu admits that 1889 was not the beginning of the composer’s apparent acquaintance with the scale (1959, 413). a) Consonance b) Atonal c) Whole - tone scale d) Dissonance 9) Where is Debussy's birthplace? His compositions flowed without a strict sense of metre or rhythm, and are considered the pioneering works of the Impressionist genre of classical music, named in comparison with the visual arts movement. Complete prelude Richard Mueller (1986) has argued that Debussy’s prior knowledge of both the pentatonic and whole-tone scales prepared him to hear (and to remember) certain elements of those Javanese performances (160–61). If the whole-tone scale itself is ambiguous, so is the title. I think of this as the 20th century’s take on Drake’s “YOLO.” [4:55] Triumphant Theme 2. Thus, the whole-tone scale comprises six degrees per octave. However, compared with the work of, say, Brahms, considered a master of the symphony, or the similarly-regarded Mahler (who wrote his Fifth, Sixth and Seventh symphonies in the first 5 years of the 20th century), Debussy’s lo… but also makes use of the pentatonic and whole-tone scales • Octatonic scale. Two mutually exclusive whole-tone scales are formed by choosing alternate notes of the chromatic scale (which has 12 notes per octave). Whole tone scales always look a bit odd because our notation is not designed for them. With elements from the first movement reappearing in the last, the work is unified, therefore suggesting the influence of the symphony. Home > Symmetric Scales > Whole-Tone Scale > B Whole-Tone Scale Debussy’s Voiles, the second Prélude from Book I, moves between whole-tone and pentatonic harmonies. Omissions? 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