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The Rhythm of ThoughtArt, Literature, and Music after Merleau-Ponty$
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Jessica Wiskus

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780226030920

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226031088.001.0001

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Debussy: Silence and Resonance

Debussy: Silence and Resonance

(p.39) 4 Debussy: Silence and Resonance
The Rhythm of Thought

Jessica Wiskus

University of Chicago Press

This chapter discusses Debussy’s expressive use of silence in music. The silence that precedes the piece becomes a part of the piece and serves as the first event in the initiation of the rhythm. This silence appears in printed form as the “white spaces” on the page, and Mallarme had emphasized the role of this silence in his work. He writes that his poetry admits of “a strange influence, that of Music, as it is heard at a concert; several of its methods, which seemed to me to apply to Literature, are to be found here.” It is this similar artistic receptivity to that silence—that noncoincidence—from which expression issues forth that is shared by Debussy and Mallarme.

Keywords:   silence, music, debussy, rhythm, white spaces, mallarme, artistic receptivity, noncoincidence

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