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Indiana University

1. Thompson, Trina. The Rhetoric of Suggestion in Debussy's Mélodies: A Contingent Poetics of Thematicity, Temporality, and Agency .

Degree: 2018, Indiana University

The fin-de-siècle rapprochement between Symbolist poets and impressionist composers constitutes a critical era in text-music relations. This study investigates Debussy’s manipulation of musical materials in ways that both enact and contend with the poems’ structures and semantics. The composer’s investment in elusiveness—the “introuvable”—suggests that these songs may be implicated with issues of musico-poetic contingency and suggestion. I thus pursue a hypothetical reconstruction of Debussy’s “rhetoric of suggestion,” a nuanced deployment of harmony, melody, form, and musical topic that evokes a heightened sense of semantic uncertainty or a fraught experience of musical time. These strategies of musical narrative and temporality give rise to an expanded function for musical topics as they respond to and participate in contemporary aesthetic and cultural dialogues. Stefan Jarocinski’s Debussy: Impressionism and Symbolism (1976) provides an embryonic sketch of Debussy’s use of “traditional symbols”—that is, what would come to be called musical topics. While Jarocinski notes that the composer’s use of these signifying textures “generally bears little resemblance to traditional models,” (begging the question of how Debussy does use his textures), he also asserts that “often as not Debussy paid no attention to symbolic suggestions when deciding in what form his works would be performed or the way in which their sound-material would be organised.” My analyses suggest that this presumed obliviousness (even randomness) in the use of musical topics is instead a hallmark of Debussy’s coherent, albeit subversive, musico-poetic strategies—as part of a larger “rhetoric of suggestion.” This rhetoric combines the nuanced deployment of musical topic along with particular harmonic, melodic, and rhythmic elements to evoke a heightened sense of musical contingency and a fraught experience of musical time. That is, our expectations for logical continuation are either denied or multiplied; expectation (future) contends with both memory and obsession (past), all within a nonlinear narrative. Advisors/Committee Members: Hatten, Robert S (advisor).

Subjects/Keywords: Debussy; Music Theory; Art Song; Musical Meaning; Ambiguity; Temporality

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APA · Chicago · MLA · Vancouver · CSE | Export to Zotero / EndNote / Reference Manager

APA (6th Edition):

Thompson, T. (2018). The Rhetoric of Suggestion in Debussy's Mélodies: A Contingent Poetics of Thematicity, Temporality, and Agency . (Thesis). Indiana University. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/2022/22389

Note: this citation may be lacking information needed for this citation format:
Not specified: Masters Thesis or Doctoral Dissertation

Chicago Manual of Style (16th Edition):

Thompson, Trina. “The Rhetoric of Suggestion in Debussy's Mélodies: A Contingent Poetics of Thematicity, Temporality, and Agency .” 2018. Thesis, Indiana University. Accessed September 24, 2018. http://hdl.handle.net/2022/22389.

Note: this citation may be lacking information needed for this citation format:
Not specified: Masters Thesis or Doctoral Dissertation

MLA Handbook (7th Edition):

Thompson, Trina. “The Rhetoric of Suggestion in Debussy's Mélodies: A Contingent Poetics of Thematicity, Temporality, and Agency .” 2018. Web. 24 Sep 2018.

Vancouver:

Thompson T. The Rhetoric of Suggestion in Debussy's Mélodies: A Contingent Poetics of Thematicity, Temporality, and Agency . [Internet] [Thesis]. Indiana University; 2018. [cited 2018 Sep 24]. Available from: http://hdl.handle.net/2022/22389.

Note: this citation may be lacking information needed for this citation format:
Not specified: Masters Thesis or Doctoral Dissertation

Council of Science Editors:

Thompson T. The Rhetoric of Suggestion in Debussy's Mélodies: A Contingent Poetics of Thematicity, Temporality, and Agency . [Thesis]. Indiana University; 2018. Available from: http://hdl.handle.net/2022/22389

Note: this citation may be lacking information needed for this citation format:
Not specified: Masters Thesis or Doctoral Dissertation

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