Impressionism in music was a movement among various composers in Western classical music, mainly during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, whose music focuses on suggestion and atmosphere, "conveying the moods and emotions aroused by the subject rather than a detailed tone‐picture".[1] In identifying Claude Debussy and his imitators as "impressionists", contemporaries compared their work in music to the earlier work of the impressionists in the visual arts.

Claude Debussy found inspiration in Javanese music. Debussy later wrote to a friend, "Do you not remember the Javanese music, able to express every shade of meaning, … which makes our tonic and dominant seem like ghosts?"[2] He and Maurice Ravel were generally considered to be the two "great" impressionists. However, these days composers are generally not as accurately described by the term "Impressionism" as painters in the genre were.[citation needed] Debussy renounced it, saying: "I am trying to do 'something different' – in a way realities – what the imbeciles call 'impressionism' is a term which is as poorly used as possible, particularly by art critics."[3]

Ernest Fanelli was claimed to have innovated the style, though his works were unperformed before 1912.[4]

Other composers said to have been influenced by Impressionism include Isaac Albéniz, John Alden Carpenter, Frederick Delius, Paul Dukas, Manuel de Falla, Charles Tomlinson Griffes, and Ottorino Respighi.[5]

  1. ^ Michael Kennedy, "Impressionism", The Oxford Dictionary of Music, second edition, revised, Joyce Bourne, associate editor (Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 2006). ISBN 9780198614593.
  2. ^ Roger Kamien, Music: An Appreciation, eighth edition (New York: McGraw-Hill, 2004): 412. ISBN 0-07-284484-1.
  3. ^ Tsai, Shengdar. Impressionistic Influences in the Music of Claude Debussy. Accessed 22 July 2006.[self-published source?]
  4. ^ Adriano, Ernest Fanelli (1860-1917), Symphonic Pictures, Marco Polo, pp.1–4[Full citation needed]
  5. ^ "Impressionism, in Music". The Columbia Encyclopedia (6th ed. ed.). New York: Columbia University Press. Retrieved 2012-12-25. {{cite encyclopedia}}: |edition= has extra text (help) (Archive copy from 3 April 2009).