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Arabesque No 1 

by Claude Debussy

Arabesque by Claude Debussy

Ms. de la Pejaudie is the last of the four pieces and is dedicated to Gaubert. The first three are themed on mythology like the God Pan.

Arabesque in musical terms refers to changes in tempo and highly ornamental melodies. In architecture it refers to ornate scrolling in Moorish architecture and is also a ballet position.
Arabesque in music then is a form of ornamentation, or decoration, like the elaborate scrollwork above an archway in Middle Eastern architecture,
Debussy described the Arabesques as having ‘delicate tracery’ with ‘twining counterpoints.”
Of the Arabesque in Baroque music, he wrote:

“that was the age of the ‘wonderful arabesque,’ when music was subject to the laws of beauty inscribed in the movements of Nature herself.”

These Debussy quotes below got me very emotional.

  • “Music is the expression of the movement of the waters, the play of curves described by changing breezes.”
  • “Music is the arithmetic of sounds as optics is the geometry of light.”
  • “I love music passionately. And because I love it I try to free it from barren traditions that stifle it.”