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Musical Symbolism in the Operas of Debussy and Bartok
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Musical Symbolism in the Operas of Debussy and Bartok

Elliot Antokoletz


This book explores the means by which two early 20th-century operas — Debussy's Pelléas et Mélisande (1902) and Bartók's Duke Bluebeard's Castle (1911) — transform the harmonic structures of the traditional major/minor scale system into a new musical language, and how this language reflects the psycho-dramatic symbolism of the Franco-Belgian poet, Maurice Maeterlinck and his Hungarian disciple, Béla Balázs. In reaction to the realism of 19th-century theater, many authors began to develop a new interest in psychological motivation and a level of consciousness manifested in metaphor, ambiguity, ... More

Keywords: psycho-dramatic symbolism, fate, subconscious motivation, pentatonic, diatonic folk modalities, whole-tone, octatonic, dominant-ninth chord, symmetrical transformations

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2008 Print ISBN-13: 9780195365825
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2008 DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195365825.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Elliot Antokoletz, author
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