Music As A Beautiful Art Analysis

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‘Music as a Beautiful Art' - again, this is a title designed to provoke critical reflection along the following lines - what makes Music beautiful? Is beauty always in the eye of the beholder? Or, are there objective criteria of beauty? Is beauty a pre-requisite of art? Can 'ugly' music be art, can the 'ugly' be beautiful? Are questions of form and structure intrinsic to definitions of art and beauty?

In this essay, I intend to delve into the genre of Impressionist music and it’s link to my favourite period of art, Impressionism. As a student of both Music and Art History, I myself have seen the links between both impressionist music and impressionist art whilst studying both subjects. I have picked impressionist music and art as I consider
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This is the third movement of the famous Suite Bergamesque, 1890. The text of Clair De Lune or moonlight, was written by impressionist poet, Paul Verlaine in 1869. The text referes to a bergamasque dance (“performed as a circle courtship dance for couples: men circled forward and women backward until the melody changed; partners then embraced, turned a few steps, and began again”) . This is just another example of how Impressionist arts come together just like Mallarme and Debussy before. Gustave Cailbotte’s Paris Street: Rainy Day, 1877 is a piece of art I personally associate with Clair De Lune as the gentle movement of the quavers in piano in the introduction remind me of the soft rain falling on this contemporary Parisien scene. Cailbotte has created a scene of modern, contemporary life in Paris with it’s wide boulevards, high-rise apartment blocks in the background and the bourgeoisie walking the streets convey just that. Clair De Lune represents modern life through Debussy’s revolutionary use of augmented chords and strong use of rubato creating a relaxed and mellow atmosphere, just like the muted greys and blues we see in Cailbotte’s…show more content…
Every time one hears Ravel’s piece, their memory returns to 1984 where the UK entrants won the gold medal in Sarajevo. How would Ravel feel about his work being recognized as an accompanying piece of music to an Olympic ice-skating routine? The connection between Impressionist music and arts like ice-skating projects a negative perception on musical and arts creativity. The piece was written for a ballet; instead it was constricted into 4 minutes to accompany a sport in the Olympics. It is my belief that there is little development in the work; the same pattern over again with changing instruments and a large crescendo washing over the piece. The gold Olympic medal-winning duo performed a revolutionary choreographed routine on the ice, whilst Ravel’s Bolero, unfortunately, acted as an accessory, not a piece of art like the routine it was accompanying.

In the right context, like a ballet, the Bolero is a beautiful piece of music along with a beautiful portrayal of the music through dance. Unfortunately, when the piece is cut and shortened to accompany an ice-skating routine, the magic of the piece is lost. The piece when used as a backup became ‘ugly’ however it is still a piece of art which can be beautiful when performed as Ravel and it’s original commissioner, Ida Rubenstein

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