Talk:Claude Debussy

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Edit request from, 28 June 2011[edit]

Near the beginning it says: "This article is about the classical composer". Debussy is a Romantic composer. I can back this up because he is on the Romantic composers list: (talk) 04:01, 28 June 2011 (UTC)

Classical music. ♫ Melodia Chaconne ♫ (talk) 04:06, 28 June 2011 (UTC)
Not done: Debussy was a Classical Music composer, the sentence is not showing the era of classical music. Jnorton7558 (talk) 05:39, 28 June 2011 (UTC)
Neither classical nor romantic is exempt of ambiguity. I suppose we all know the term classical music is used to refer to the European music comprised in the Classicist movement which occurred between the Baroque and the Romanticism, as well as for naming the whole Western art music that sometimes is called cult or academical music so they can be differentiated, and we avoid semantic paradoxes like: "Wagner's is classical music but it was part of a movement opposed to Classical music called Romanticism"... or "Modern avant-garde music is part of the Classical repertoire". On the other hand, saying that Debussy was a Romanticist composer is totally untrue. While certainly there has been no musical style outstanding enough to displace Post-Romanticism from the scene so far, Debussy was the very first musician who totally sought a break with Romanticism, doubtlessly influencing the appearance of a number of recent, rapid and hard-to-classify avant-garde styles and modern composers. I would suggest removing that "classical" from the beginning and letting the reader discover what kind of composer Debussy was. Saying "This article is about the composer" is enough to draw fair distinction between him and the eponymous asteroid and hills. Isn't it? --Isacdaavid (talk) 05:28, 15 January 2013 (UTC)

The term composer implies classical (as in contradistinction to popular or jazz or folk). No qualification is necessary--and just because no qualification is necessary if you do put classical before composer, it does indeed suggest you mean as in contradistinction to Baroque or Romantic or modern. TheScotch (talk) 07:53, 8 February 2013 (UTC)

Sentance in the lead[edit]

I noticed this sentance in the lead:

Debussy is among the most important of all French composers, and a central figure in European music of the turn of the 20th century. He was made Chevalier of the Legion of Honour in 1903.[4] [| source is right here, in French --- google translate will translate it reasonably well ]

The source definetly backs up the fact that he was made a Chevalier, but it doesn't say he is "among the most important of all French Composers". I'll leave it be for now, but, any one else think it needs to be removed as possible puffery ? @-Kosh► Talk to the VorlonsMarkab-@ 16:29, 29 August 2011 (UTC)

Hello ! good question...I am not sure it is a relevant information, as this award has lost a lot of its value these days, and is mainly a national award. I do think, though, that Debussy, due to the fact that he is one of the "inventors" of "western" modern music, and plays a central role in the music of the 20th century, way beyond opera houses and clasical music circles, should be referred to, not as "a central figure in European music of the turn of the 20th century", but more simply as "a central figure in the music of the 20th century". I am afraid I already did this change, which I hope you will not see as vandalism.. I do not know if you will go back to the former version, but it would be a shame, wouldn't it ? regards Etienne — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:21, 6 February 2012 (UTC)

I reverted your edit, but not because I thought it was vandalism. The problem is that declaring Debussy "central to the 20th century" suggests that the music he composed up to 1900 was not particularly significant. His period of creative activity straddles the two centuries, which may have been inconsiderate of him (from an overly tidy historian's point of view), but it is a fact.—Jerome Kohl (talk) 01:10, 7 February 2012 (UTC)

- Mmh yes , you are right, hard to say whether this music is ending a period of time in music, opening a new one...Both things , actually...I want to bring another consideration to your judgement though. What do you think about saying "Debussy is a central figure in the music of the turn of the 20th century. " instead of "Debussy is among the most important of all French composers, and a central figure in European music of the turn of the 20th century."

Because, things being what they are in the english wikipedia, for instance it would sound odd to say that Händel or Beethoven is "...among the most important of all german composers and a central figure in European music of the turn of the 18th century"... You would simply say "he remains one of the most famous and influential of all composers." (as they actually put it for LVB, btw).

Actually the first statement is correct and may be better, as it would help put things back in the right prospective : an Indian, a Chinese, a Bolivian or a Bantu music lover would certainly rather take the first sentence and leave us with the western ethnocentrism in music of the second. But wikipedia in english does not seem to work that way...

Now back to our western music...There should be an equal treatment, since those articles are influential on the thousands who read them to get an idea of who is who. Reading the article on Debussy and then the one on Beethoven for ex, one might end up thinking Debussy was an important composer among others, but after all, the way it is said, what characterizes him is that he was an important composer for France, as it is the first thing that is written in this specific sentence, and the one that catches the attention first...Whereas, reading the article on Beethoven after the one on Debussy or vice versa (you know, the kind of homework kids have to do on composers in high school)...he would end up with a more universal impression on Beethoven. Which I think is wrong. I think Debussy deserves the same level of consideration due to an equal influence (and too hard to measure) on both the music and the musician's community.

Personnally I wish people didn't use comparative words, and I suggest all kinds of "the most"s & "the main"s should simply be banned from wikipedia in english language (strangely this "disease" is not present in the spanish and french versions...). But since its the way it works , and we can't go and modify other pages to put everything in the correct relative prospective, leaving Debussy in his "frenchness / europeanness" when the others are just universal composers would be like giving him a B whereas he definitely stands as the A composers, i.e misleading. I would like to have your opinion, I tried to put it as objectively as I could and I hope I made a point here. And I suppose you love Debussy too. regards. (ps your have the same name as my brother's wife. from Hanover) — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:13, 7 February 2012 (UTC)

Here is what various basic sources say: "Debussy was among the greatest and most important of 20th‐cent. composers both by reason of his own achievement and by the paths he opened for others to explore, hence the homage to him paid by later composers such as Boulez, Messiaen, Webern, Bartók, Stravinsky, and many others." "Debussy, Achille‐Claude." The Oxford Dictionary of Music, 2nd ed. rev. Ed. Michael Kennedy.

Grove: One of the most important musicians of his time, his harmonic innovations had a profound influence on generations of composers. He made a decisive move away from Wagnerism in his only complete opera Pelléas et Mélisande, and in his works for piano and for orchestra he created new genres and revealed a range of timbre and colour which indicated a highly original musical aesthetic. François Lesure and Roy Howat. "Debussy, Claude." Grove Music Online. Oxford Music Online. 7

Just fyi. Eusebeus (talk) 12:15, 7 February 2012 (UTC)

jerome kohl, can i have your opinion on the issue i raised ? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:59, 8 February 2012 (UTC)

actually a sentence like ..."A crucial figure in the transition to the modern era in Western art music, he remains one of the most famous and influential composers." fits well. just the way they put it for beethoven, another transitory composer. by the way, Eusebus's contribution confirms the idea that he should be more considered as a composer of the 20th than a composer of the 19th...which is logical: his influence on the 19h was small, his influence on the music of the 20th was huge. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:59, 9 February 2012 (UTC)

Contents navigational box[edit]

Is there any way to remove the Composer Project's assessment from the Talk Page's Contents navigational box? It makes navigating to relevent conversations on this page much more difficult.4meter4 (talk) 15:32, 9 February 2012 (UTC)

Ok, I hit a few WikiProject templates with sledgehammers to try to reduce the spam, but eventually hit upon simply using <noinclude> in this edit of the comments subpage. The drawback is the comments will now not show on this page - you need to click the subpage link. I guess this will work until the next comments subpage arrives, or until someone finds a better fix. -84user (talk) 13:47, 11 February 2012 (UTC)

Debussy and other composers[edit]

I think this really needs looking at - this is the guy who said: “I am more and more convinced that music, by its very nature, is something that cannot be cast into a traditional and fixed form. It is made up of colors and rhythms. The rest is a lot of humbug invented by frigid imbeciles riding on the back of the Masters – who, for the most part, wrote almost nothing but period music. Bach alone had an idea of truth.' I therefore have some scepticism about his supposed love of Mozart, Liszt, Strauss (particularly as he was somewhat of a Wagnerian) and Beethoven. I know from Pierre Boulez's article in 'Notes from an Apprenticeship' that he adored Bach's 48 Preludes as well as Schumann & Chopin (and of Stravinsky he wrote: 'Dear Stravinsky, you are a great artist. Be with all your strength a great Russian artist.') so I can cite them. But for a composer who consciously opposed himself to the Austro-German tradition, we need some verification of these supposed adorations. Knucmo2 (talk) 19:59, 20 November 2012 (UTC)

I'm glad this topic has been raised here. Debussy's relationship with Beethoven's music was far more complex than this article indicates. If I'm not mistaken Debussy loathed Palestrina, but this article claims otherwise. Toccata quarta (talk) 20:33, 20 November 2012 (UTC)
I know he tried learning one of the big Beethoven sonatas for a piano prize in the Conservatory but he failed rather spectacularly - interestingly Pierre Boulez would do the same thing some fifty years later with the same piece! (talk) 00:03, 22 November 2012 (UTC)
That may well be true, but he nevertheless had many reservations about his work. Toccata quarta (talk) 20:51, 22 November 2012 (UTC) statement wasn't meant to counter that belief. What we need in any case are sources! Knucmo2 (talk) 21:44, 22 November 2012 (UTC)
[1] should serve as a good starting point. Toccata quarta (talk) 21:52, 22 November 2012 (UTC)


The claims about Wagner's music are peacock and should be removed. The fact that they are sourced paraphrases means nothing, because Wikipedia is written from a neutral point of view. Part of Wikipedia's NPV policies is WP:DUE, which this text violates, as it pretends that Wagner's music is universally considered to contain "sensuousness, mastery of form, and striking harmonies". "Musicologist Nomen Nescio considered Beethoven a genius" should never become "Beethoven was a genius." The same applies here. Toccata quarta (talk) 10:03, 24 November 2013 (UTC)

The specific descriptors of Wagner's music are not uncited "claims", they are cited (from an extremely notable and definitive source) specific elements which influenced Debussy. Please read WP:PEA and note the difference. Wikipedia does not disallow descriptions of elements of an artist's work -- or else this encyclopedia wouldn't be very helpful at all. It disallows superlative and unilateral blanket terms ("genius", "brilliant", "defining figure") which are uncited. The descriptors here are cited, and add important information for the reader as they explain exactly what specific elements of Wagner's work (out of hundreds of possibilities) had an influence on Debussy. Debussy was not influenced by Wagner's mythologizing, Gesamtkunstwerk concepts, excessive length, or any of dozens of other elements he is known for. The specific elements of Wagner's that influenced Debussy are important here as Debussy's own music reflects and mirrors those influences. I also invite User:Flyte35 to comment on his addition of this material and the source material he paraphrased from. Softlavender (talk) 21:53, 24 November 2013 (UTC)
Please look again at the penultimate sentence of my comment. Wikipedia presents the point of view of notable sources, while being written from a neutral point of view. Toccata quarta (talk) 22:09, 24 November 2013 (UTC)
There's nothing non-neutral about the cited information, any more than any of the cited pieces of information about the qualities of Debussy's music in this article are non-neutral, or indeed the cited information about the qualities of any major composer in an GA or FA Wikipedia articles. One cannot write an informative full-length article about a composer without mentioning certain (cited) salient qualities of their music. There are no superlative and unilateral blanket terms ("genius", "brilliant", "defining figure") in the text in question. Softlavender (talk) 22:47, 24 November 2013 (UTC)
"Mastery" is not neutral. Also, why are you using "neutral" and "sourced" as synonyms? Toccata quarta (talk) 08:38, 25 November 2013 (UTC)
I'm not sure what the specific textual question here is, but the general concept of neutrality is such that it's appropriate to have something like "John Smith said Debussy's work was 'brilliant and amazingly awesome due to the artist's superior understanding of culture'" (or some such thing) and then cite the Smith piece. It is not, however, appropriate to say "Debussy's work was superior due to the artist's cultural understanding" and then just cite Smith. This sort of thing is often trouble for wiki articles about artists, but it's a matter of how one presents the fact. The FACT is that someone says X about Debussy's work, not that X is a true about Debussy's work.Flyte35 (talk) 22:11, 24 November 2013 (UTC)
Oops, sorry Flyte35, I thought you made the edit in question, but it had been made earlier. I'll find the editor who made the edit. Softlavender (talk) 22:29, 24 November 2013 (UTC)
  • The editor who made the edit, User:Scotwriter, is no longer active on Wikipedia. However, the information was later cited to Grove online [2], the most definitive and indisputable source on music there is. I don't currently have a subscription, but perhaps someone who does can give the verbatim information from the source so we can see if the paraphrase takes any liberties or not. Softlavender (talk) 22:41, 24 November 2013 (UTC)

De Bussy?[edit]

I have seen early concert reports (mentioned as I recall in a chapter or two of "Debussy Remembered") refer to Debussy as "De Bussy" (of...)--- was this a form the composer in fact and himself used in earlier life, or was it imposed on his surname by early newspaper critics? :) Schissel | Sound the Note! 05:18, 26 April 2014 (UTC)