Pour le Piano: Sarabande - Debussy

Overview of piece.

MDH - Melody Dominated Homophony

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  • Pour le Piano: Sarabande - Debussy
    • Metre
      • 3/4
    • Resources
      • Solo Piano
        • Some left hand chords extend to well over an 8ve, must be spread
        • Wide range: very low C# to E just over 5 octaves higher
    • Rhythm
      • Tremelo idea (bar69)
      • 2nd beat emphasised in many bars: typical of Sarabande
      • Rhythmic variety
        • Continuous quaver chords
        • 2 semiquaver figure (bar5) or reverse (bar 23)
        • Hemiola (bars67-68)
        • Triplet quavers (melody in opening)
    • Background
      • Neo-classical: 1901
    • Structure
      • Binary structure
        • Longer B section: includes modified repeat of opening music (bars 42-49)
        • Short A section: end of C# with a quiet low passage in 8ves
      • Periodic Phrasing with 2 bar units & multiples thereof
    • Tonality
      • Aeolian Mode in C# minor
      • Some tonal ambiguity (melody bars 1&2 could represent Em but harmonisation closer to modal C#m
      • Doesn't treat mode traditionally
    • Harmony
      • Many chords are ordinary triads in root position, others are lush parallel 7th chords
      • Chromaticism (bar25-28)
      • Whole-tone scale (bar7)
      • Non-functional
      • Quartal Harmony: based on superimposed 4ths
      • Chord Streams (bar35-41)
    • Textures
      • Parallel 5ths
      • MDH (bar9-12) elsewhere is homorhythm or chordal writing
      • Parallelism (6 note chords at start)
      • Few ninth chords
      • Parallel 8ths: mostly doublings of principal melody (bar1)
      • 3 short 8ve passages provide contrasts (bars5-6)
    • Melody
      • Repetition (bars 1-2 repeated in bars3-4 with slight embellishment)
      • Moves narrowly in most phrases: mixture of conjunct movement & leaps of 3rd or 4th
        • Slightly more extended on approach to an important cadence or sectional break
      • M.d. at end with right hand: hugely complex finish in lower tessitura


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