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Debussy's String Quartet in g minor: reiteration and formal procedures

Grant number: 12/16761-8
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Master
Effective date (Start): November 01, 2012
Effective date (End): September 30, 2014
Field of knowledge:Linguistics, Literature and Arts - Arts - Music
Principal researcher:Paulo de Tarso Camargo Cambraia Salles
Grantee:Juliano Taques Bittencourt Abramovay
Home Institution: Escola de Comunicações e Artes (ECA). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil


Claude Debussy's String quartet in G minor is a work characterized by important dichotomies. Written in 1893, the piece is permeated by harmonic and formal elements attached to the tonal tradition and to the end of the 19th century, and specially to the composer César Franck. At the same time, the Quartet uses procedures observed only in Debussy's mature works, in which the presence of tonalism is weak, and analyses that rely exclusively on tonal elements are proven to have little efficiency regarding this piece. The relation between tradition and innovation is examined in this research, which focuses on two related characteristics: the way in which Debussy uses repeated elements in this piece, a matter also examined by Sylveline Bourion, and aspects related to the kinetic form described by Richard Parks. A comparison between the Quartet and the Sonata for flute, viola and harp, composed at the end of Debussy's career, is useful for observing similar formal elements applied in different contexts.

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