Oxford University Press's
Academic Insights for the Thinking World

  • Author: Eric Frederick Jensen

Is Debussy an Impressionist?

From the start, audiences liked Claude Debussy’s music. Critics, perplexed by its originality, were less enthusiastic. It seemed so non-traditional that they found it difficult to grasp, and a challenge to categorize. That’s what eventually led to the term Impressionism being applied to it. It became an easy way both to classify it and make it seem less unusual. Prior to linking Debussy to it, Impressionism was solely associated with the visual arts.

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