(Spring 1997)


        Instructor:     Stephen Peles            Office: 252a
Phone:           348-1472 Office Hours: by appointment

Course Description:

           Analytical examination of the vocal and instrumental music of Claude Debussy (1862-1918), with emphasis on the evolution of Debussy's musical language--both its traditional and innovative aspects--and the importance of that language to western art music at the beginning of the twentieth century.          


   Weekly assignments and class participation will determine 80% of the final grade. Each student will present a 15 minute lecture/analysis on a work to be determined in consultation with the instructor.  The remaining 20% of the final grade is determined by the final examination.



Week 1:    Readings: none

Extensions of Earlier Harmonic Techniques

Week 2:    Readings: Somer 1995

Week 3:    Readings: Lenormand 1915 (No class Monday)

An Early Orchestral Work: Prelude a l'apres-midi d'un faun

Week 4:    Readings: Brown 1993, Salzer 1962, Berman 1980

Week 5:    Readings: Hepokoski 1984

New Referential Collections: Pentatonic, Whole-tone, Octatonic, and Others

Week 6:   Readings: Harris 1980, Whittall 1975, Bass 1994

Week 7:   Readings: Mueller 1986

Week 8:   Readings: Forte 1991

An Introduction to the Preludes and Etudes

Week 9:   Readings: Barkin 1978, Benjamin 1978, Gauldin 1978 . Presentations.

Week 10: Readings: TBA; Student presentations

Week 11: Readings: TBA; Student presentations, etc.


More on the Preludes; Later Works

Week 13:  Readings: Moevs 1969

Week 14:  Readings: Howat 1984

Week 15:  Readings: TBA

Week 16:  Readings: TBA


Abbate, Carolyn. 1981. "Tristan in the Composition of Pelleas,"19th Century Music vol. 5 no. 2: pp. 117-141.

Barkin, Elaine. 1978. "Notes in Progress" [Analysis Symposium on "pour les Sixtes" from "Twelve Etudes"], Journal of Music Theory vol. 22 no. 2: pp. 291-311.

Bass, Richard. 1994. "Models of Octatonic and Whole-tone Interaction: George Crumb and His Predecessors," Journal of Music Theory vol. 38 no. 2: pp. 155-186.

Benjamin, William E. 1978. "`pour les Sixtes': An Analysis"[Analysis Symposium on "pour les Sixtes" from "Twelve Etudes"], Journal of Music Theory vol. 22 no. 2: pp. 253-290.

Bergeron, Katherine. 1994. "The Echo, the Cry, the Death of Lovers," 19th Century Music vol. 18 no. 2: pp. 136-151.

Berman, Laurence D. 1980. "Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun and Jeux: Debussy's Summer Rites," 19th Century Music vol. 3 no. 3: pp. 225-238.

Briscoe, James R. 1981. "Debussy d'apres Debussy: The Further Resonance of Two Early Melodies," 19th Century Music vol. 5 no. 2: pp. 110-116.

______. 1984. "Debussy's Earliest Songs," College Music Symposium vol. 24 no. 2: pp. 81-95.

______. 1990. "`To Invent New Forms': Debussy's Diane au bois," The Musical Quarterly, vol. 74 no. 1: pp. 131-169.

Brown, Matthew. 1993. "Tonality and Form in Debussy's Prelude a l'Apres-midi d'un faune." Music Theory Spectrum vol. 15 no. 2: pp. 127-143.

Eimert, Herbert. 1961. "Debussy's `Jeux'," Die Reihe vol. 5: pp. 3-20. English edition Bryn Mawr PA: Theodore Presser, Leo Black trans.

Forte, Allen. 1973. The Structure of Atonal Music. New Haven and London: Yale University Press.

______. 1991. "Debussy and the Octatonic," Music Analysis vol. 10 nos. 1-2: pp. 125-169.

Gauldin, Robert. 1978. "An Analysis" [Analysis Symposium on   "pour les Sixtes" from "Twelve Etudes"], Journal of Music Theory vol. 22 no. 2: pp. 241-251.

Goldman, David Paul. 1991. "Esotericism as a Determinant of Debussy's Harmonic Language." Musical Quarterly vol. 75 no. 2: pp. 130-47.

Haimo, Ethan. 1978-79. "Generated Collections and Interval Control in Debussy's Preludes." In Theory Only vol. 4 no. 8: pp. 3-15.

Harris, Simon. 1980. "Chord-Forms Based on the Whole-Tone Scale in Early Twentieth-Century Music," The Music Review vol. 41 no. 1: pp. 36-51.

Hepokoski, James A. 1984. "Formulaic Openings in Debussy," 19th Century Music vol. 8 no. 1: pp. 44-59.

Howat, Roy. 1983. Debussy in Proportion: A Musical Analysis. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Kresky, Jeffrey. 1977. Tonal Music: Twelve Analytic Studies.   Bloomington: Indiana University Press.

Lenormand, Rene. 1915. A Study of Twentieth-Century Harmony. Reprint New York: Da Capo Press, 1976, Herbert Antcliffe trans.

Lewin, David. 1987a. "Some Instances of Parallel Voice-Leading in Debussy." Nineteenth-Century Music vol. 11, no .1: pp. 59-72.

______. 1987b. Generalized Musical Intervals and Transformations. New Haven: Yale University Press.

______. 1992. "Some Notes on Analyzing Wagner: The Ring and   Parsifal," 19th Century Music vol. 16 no. 1: pp. 49-58.

______. 1993. "A Transformational Basis for Form and Prolongationin Debussy's `Feux d'artifice'," in Musical Form and Transformation: Four Analytic Essays. New Haven: Yale University Press, pp. 97-159.

Miller, Horace Alden. 1930. New Harmonic Devices: A Treatise on Modern Harmonic Problems. Bryn Mawr, PA: Oliver Ditson Co.

Moevs, Robert. 1969. "Intervallic Procedures in Debussy: Serenade from the Sonata for Cello and Piano, 1915." Perspectives of New Music vol. 8 no. 9: pp. 82-101.

Monelle, Raymond. 1990. "A Semantic Approach to Debussy's Songs," The Music Review vol. 51 no. 3: pp. 193-207.

Mueller, Richard. 1986. "Javenese Influence on Debussy's Fantaisie and Beyond," 19th Century Music vol. 10 no. 2: pp. 157-186.

Parks, Richard S. 1980. "Pitch Organization in Debussy: Unordered Sets in `Brouillards'," Music Theory Spectrum vol. 2: pp. 119-134.

_____. 1985. "Tonal Analogues as Atonal Resources and Their Relation to Form in Debussy's Chromatic Etude." Journal of Music Theory vol. 29, pp. 33-60.

______. 1989. The Music of Claude Debussy. New Haven and London: Yale University Press.

Pasler, Jann. 1982. "Debussy'sJeux: Playing with Time and Form," 19th Century Music vol. 6 no. 1: pp. 60-75.

Reti, Rudolph. 1951. The Thematic Process in Music. New York: Macmillan.

Salzer, Felix. 1962. Structural Hearing: Tonal Coherence in Music. 2 vols. New York: Dover.

Smith, Richard Langham. 1981. "Debussy and the Pre-Raphaelites," 19th Century Music vol. 5 no. 2: pp. 95-109.

Somer, Avo. 1995. "Chromatic Third-Relations and Tonal Structure in the Songs of Debussy," Music Theory Spectrum vol. 17 no. 2: pp. 215-241.

Wenk, Arthur B. 1983. Debussy and Twentieth-Century Music. Boston: Twayne Publishers.

______. 1986-87. "Parsing Debussy: Proposal for a Grammar of His Melodic Practice." In Theory Only vol. 9, no. 8: pp. 5-19.

Whittall, Arnold. 1975. "Tonality and the Whole-Tone Scale in the Music of Debussy," The Music Review vol. 36: pp. 261-71.

Youens, Susan. 1986. "Music, Verse, and `Prose Poetry': Debussy's Trois Chansons de Belitis," Journal of Musicological Research vol. 7: pp. 69-94.


Ariettes oubliees, 1885-88, songs

Petite Suite, 1886-89, piano four hands

Cinq poemes de Baudelaire, 1887-89, songs

Fantaisie, 1889-90, piano & orch.

Suite bergamasque, 1890 rev. 1905, piano

Trois melodies, 1891, songs

Fetes galantes, set 1, 1891, songs

Pelleas et Melisande, 1893-1902, opera

String Quartet, 1893

Prelude a l'apres-midi d'un faune, 1892-5, orchestra

Images, 3 pieces, 1894, piano

Suite: Pour le piano, 1894-1901, piano

Chansons de Bilitis, 1897-98, songs

Nocturnes, 1897-1900, orchestra

La Mer, 1903-5, orchestra

L'isle joyeuse, 1904, piano

Fetes galantes, set 2, 1904, songs

Images, set 1, 1905, piano

Images, 1905-12, orchestra

Images, set 2, 1907, piano

Trois ballades de Villon, 1910, songs

Preludes, book 1, 1909-10, piano

Preludes, book 2, 1912-13, piano

Jeux, 1912-1914, ballet

Trois poemes de Mallarme, 1913, songs

Syrinx, 1913, solo flute

Sonata, 1915, vc. & pf.

Etudes, 1915, piano

Sonata, 1916-17, vln. & pf.