Impressionist Music That Will Make You Experience Textures And Colors
Art

Impressionist Music That Will Make You Experience Textures And Colors

Avatar of Carlos Toledo

By: Carlos Toledo

April 5, 2017

Art Impressionist Music That Will Make You Experience Textures And Colors
Avatar of Carlos Toledo

By: Carlos Toledo

April 5, 2017



Transforming a pictorial work into a musical one is not an easy task. The textured and broken brushstrokes that characterize a style risk acquiring a different meaning through music. Have you ever imagined what listening to a painting would be like? Just like colors, sounds can evoke deep emotions, fleeting feelings, or illustrate an atmosphere, and they can also tell stories. The impressionist period began around 1870, in France. The main purpose of these paintings was to evoke in a clear and substantial manner a beautiful object, as its contemplation allowed to forget the bluntness and imperfections of daily life. For this very reason, impressionist painters loved painting outdoors and focused on depicting the mutability of nature and fleeting colorful moments. Some of most emblematic artists were Monet, Renoir, Degas, and Cézanne. 

impressionism and music renoir

When it comes to musical structure and composition, impressionist artists based their pieces on Greek and Medieval models. The main musical leading figures from this movement were Debussy, Ravel, Satie, and Séverac. Composers used synthetic scales, as well as exotic and hexatonic scales that could fill the environment with color. One representative example of this is the following musical composition: 
"La Cathédrale Engloutie" by  Claude Debussy.




Although Impressionism didn't look for deep emotions like the Romantic movement, it was an innovative movement that made us perceive color through our ears. Impressionist musical pieces envelope the listener within an essence or a fleeting moment. When the melody is over, that immersion dissipates like cigarette smoke. This genre was also groundbreaking, as it laid the foundations for jazz, which has a harmonic structure and uses altered extended chords like impressionist composers did. 

Orchestral music was also influenced by the tone of impressionist music. Maurice Ravel was probably the most important orchestral composer of the genre. One his best compositions is 
"Pavane pour une infante défunte," which was originally written as a piano piece in 1899, and in 1910 adapted as an orchestral version. It has the power to envelope the listener in a melancholic state, just like an impressionist painting with gray and light greenish tones.





Impressionism was initially known for its pictorial productions, but its musical side is also beautiful and magnificent. The way it takes us into different atmospheres and environments is worthy of deep and heartfelt appreciation.


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Translated by Andrea Valle Gracia


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