Title

'Pelleas and Melisande' as the Culmination of French Sound

Document Type

Thesis

Publication Date

1997

Advisor

Axel Theimer; Nathaniel Dubin

Abstract

The thesis, "Pelleas et Melisande: A historical, literary and musical analysis" discusses the central elements of Debussy's only opera Pelleas et Melisande. It begins with a historical perspective, which expounds upon the events surrounding the genesis of Pelleas. Following the historical look is a literary analysis, which discusses the symbolist elements presented in the text. Finally appears an extensive musical analysis that explores Debussy's use of recurrent motives, text painting and recurrent tonalities, and discusses the relation of Debussy's composition to the elements of the text. The thesis concludes that Debussy's main goal in composing the opera was a complete synthesis of music and text.

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