Pour Le Piano - Debussy

Melody:

Moves mostly through stepwise movement

Range of Opening 2-bar phrase is a fifth

Range is extended when approaching a cadence

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Melody

Moves mostly through stepwise movement

Range of opening 2-bar phrase is a fifth

Range is extended when approaching cadence points (bars 7-8, 38-41)

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Rhythm and Metre

Simple triple time - Characteristic of a sarabande

Second beat is emphasized

Rhythmic variety:
-Continuous quaver chords (39-41)
-Triplet quavers (1-3 and modified in 42-44) 

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T. For Texture

Principal texture is chordal

Sometimes homorhythmic (e.g. 1-2)

Melody dominated homophony where top part is separate from the accompaniment (e.g 9-12 and 42-45)

Short passages of bare octaves (e.g. bars 5-6)

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Harmony

  • Generally non-functional harmony (Dominant 7ths are used in an unfamiliar way to previous pieces)
  • Parallel 5ths and 8ves which would have been forbidden previously are now relished
  • Inversions are avoided and most chords are in root position
  • Where 7th chords were usually prepared sounded and resolved they are used freely here


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Instruments

  • Written for piano - Does not require immense levels of skill
  • Wide range of notes, 5 octaves up from lowest C sharp
  • Uses big chords which are arpeggiated out of necessity
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Tonality

  • Piece is in the Aeolian Mode transposed to C# so it sounds like C# minor
  • Tonal ambiguity - Hints at C# minor several times throughout the piece but ultimately finishes on an E major chord
  • Does not use functional harmony as it is not based on major/minor scales
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Structure

Could be in 3 different forms:

Binary - A section ending at bar 22 and section B beginning at bar 23-41 but the restatements of A in bar 42 are too altered and substantial for the piece to be in rounded binary

Ternary - A section is bars 1-22 ending in the main key
-Section B is bars 23-41
-Section A(v) A much varied repeat of the A section 

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Structure (Continued)

Rondo- 

  • Theme A appears, albeit with variations at bars 1-8,15-22 and 42-49
  • Section B appears at bars 9-14
  • Section C at 23-41
  • Section D at 50-55
  • At bar 56, instead of Theme A,

    B returns and leads on to a coda (from bar 63). 
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