C. Debussy's Vocal and Choral Music from The Aspect of Artistic Dialogue with The Traditions of Ancient Musical Art





C. Debussy's vocal and choral music, dialogue, impressionism, genre and stylistic features, traditions.


The article deals with the study of the cycle Trois Chansons de Charles d'Orléans by Claude Debussy. The innovation and genre diversity of C. Debussy's musical heritage requires a thorough study in various aspects, from historical one to genre and style. Among the least studied problems of French musical art in the early twentieth century is the question of the phenomenon of dialogue of musical traditions in C. Debussy’s choral work. This determines the relevance of the article. The aim of the research is to comprehend Claude Debussy’s creative search in the genre of choral music a cappella in retrospective and perspective senses on the example of a cappella choral work Trois Chansons de Charles d'Orléans. The choral genre a cappella in C. Debussy’s work is presented only in the cycle “Trois Chansons de Charles d'Orléans”. It was created in 1908, during the heyday of the composer's creative talent. The synthesis of ancient French pieces with the a cappella choral genre speaks for itself about the connection of these songs with the traditions of the popular vocal and choral genre chanson.

The main thing in the music of this choral cycle is conveying moods that acquire the meaning of symbols, fixing barely perceptible psychological states caused by contemplation of the outside world. Debussy's choral orchestration is dominated by pure colors, capricious reflections; often used instrumental techniques such as passages (imitation of the harp sound), complex divisi of the male choir. Ostinato backgrounds are typical and purely decorative, evenly flowing. Rhythmics is sometimes shaky and elusive. The melody is characterized not by rounded constructions, but by short expressive phrases-symbols, and layers of motives. A special freshness to the music was added by the appeal to song and dance genres, the subtle transformation of elements of rhythms, borrowed from French folklore.

Debussy's music of the choral cycle is always national in its character, mood and inner intonation always merges with the depth of the streams of folk songs and French lyrical poetry. Thus, the genre-style constants of C. Debussy’s choir composition are the composer's commitment to musical symbolism and the embodiment of symbolist poetry; “musicalization” of the Old French poetry and reliance on French national origins.

Author Biographies

Olena Batovska, Kharkiv National Kotlyarevsky University of Arts

Хоровой педагог, хормейстер. Получила музыкальное образование в Харьковском государственном институте искусств им. И. П. Котляревского (1989–1995), целевую ассистентуру-стажировку (1999 г.) и докторантуру (2016 г.) Харьковского национального универсистетаск иверситета. И. П. Котляревсского. Котляревсского. С 1999 г. по настоящее время - доцент кафедры хорового дирижирования Харьковского национального университета искстус им. И.П. Котляревского. Автор 50 публикаций профессиональных изданий.

Natalya Grebenyuk

Grebenyuk Natalya (ngrebenuk921@gmail.com; Constitution Square, 11/13, Kharkiv, 61003, Ukraine) Grebenyuk Natalya works as a leading professor at the department of solo singing and opera training at Kotlyarevsky I.P. Kharkiv National University of Arts. She defended her doctoral dissertation in 2000 on the topic «Vocal and Performing Creativity: Art History and Pedagogical Aspects». She has two monographs, 5 teaching manuals, about 60 articles devoted to the specifics of the vocal-technical and vocal-performing processes. 19 Ph.D. theses and one doctoral dissertation were defended under her supervision.  She is a member of two academic councils for doctoral dissertations, a leading opponent and expert in her field of art: opera and chamber performance and pedagogy.  Having sung for 35 years on the opera and chamber stage, she has opera contracts in European theaters / Italy, France, Greece, Russia / and performances of chamber works with orchestra, organ and piano.  At present, she continues productive work on scientific research in the field of vocal performing and vocal pedagogical art.

Oleksandra Samoilenko

Samoilenko Oleksandra (al_sam@ukr.net; Novoselskogo, 63, Odessa, Ukraine, 65023) ‑ PhD of Philosophical Sciences, Doctor of Arts, works as Vice-Rector for Research and Professor of the Department of History of Music and Musical Ethnography of the Odessa National Academy of Music A.V. Nezhdanova, is the head of the public organization "Community "Musicologists of Ukraine in world culture ". She is a leading lecturer in music-historical and methodological musicology disciplines. The topic of the doctoral dissertation "Dialogue as a musical and cultural phenomenon: methodological aspects of modern musicology". In research works (more than 120, including 4 individual monographs), educational and public activities develops semiological, psychological and epistemological areas of modern musicology, supervises master's and dissertation research, review of candidate and doctoral theses, is the chairman of the specialized academic council of Odessa. She leads a specialty class, among the graduates of which there are more than 50 candidates (PhD) and doctors of sciences, is the author of a number of scientific and creative projects, organizer and participant of international scientific conferences, conducts systematic internships for teachers of music schools in Ukraine and foreign.


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How to Cite

Batovska, O., Grebenyuk, N., & Samoilenko , O. (2022). C. Debussy’s Vocal and Choral Music from The Aspect of Artistic Dialogue with The Traditions of Ancient Musical Art. Journal of History Culture and Art Research, 11(2), 17-27. https://doi.org/10.7596/taksad.v11i2.3147