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Throughout history art and music have developed in parallel with each other The impressionist movement is no exception and both of them stemmed from a bold desire to break from traditions in search of new forms of expression Thus this essay will explore Impressionism in general and then further explore features and composers that had a significant influence on musical impressionism Finally the discussion will delve into some of Debussys most significant works as a musical impressionist that contributed to this unique movement To begin with Impressionism in art began in France near the end of the 19th century It was first used by academic salons in application to painter Claude Monet in an insulting way over the vague mature of his work Impressions Sunrise Machlis 198084 In that painting others expected to see a realistic picture of a sunrise but were astonished to see what Monet described as the fugitive changes of nature Howard 196973 Thus the aim of impressionists was to suggest rather than to depict to mirror not the object but the emotional reaction to the object to interpret a fugitive impression rather than to seize upon and fix the permanent reality Thompson 193721 Their chief aim was to produce the general impression of the moment made by the subject on the artist They tended to look at nature with an innocent eye Machlis 198085 Hence instead of an image of what the painter actually sees impressionist art substitutes it with the emotional reaction of the artist to the scene he is painting Much in the same way impressionism in music aims to create descriptive impressions not necessarily to draw clear pictures A more accurate characterization of impressionist music would include restraint and understatement a static quality and a provocatively colorful effect resulting from composers fascination with pure sound as a beautiful and mysterious end in itself Technically these characteristics often result from a static use of harmony ambiguous tonality a lack
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