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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: The Form That Has Arrived at Itself

Debussy: The Form That Has Arrived at Itself

(p.102) 9 Debussy: The Form That Has Arrived at Itself
The Rhythm of Thought

Jessica Wiskus

University of Chicago Press

This chapter presents and studies Debussy’s definition of music, according to which, music, in its essence, “consists of colors and rhythmicized time.” The “colors” may be taken to refer to the depth expressed through harmony and timbre. On the other hand, “rhythmicized time” cannot simply refer to the use of musical meter, as the sense of rhythmic pulse in the Prelude is less that of a metronome than of a shifting beam of light. The concept of “rhythmicized time” transcends simple durational measurement between two notes or two harmonies and operates across multiple layers. The precise divisions of the musical form in the Prelude remain a subject of debate among contemporary music theorists.

Keywords:   music, debussy, colors, rhythmicized time, harmony, timbre, musical meter, metronome, musical form, music theorists

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