Prelude a "L'apres Midi d'un Faune"
This work by Debussy starts off with solo flute stating the main theme, which is chromatic and is repeated throughout the work in many keys and variations. Measures one through thirty seems to be the first section, where the main theme (A) is developed. The theme appears in segments and variations with different harmonies. Debussy goes back and forth with different time signatures, 9/8 and 12/8 are alternated. The harmonies have illusions to cadences, but there is no true cadences until measure twenty-nine and thirty where there is the first five to one cadence.
From thirty-one to thirty-eight is a pseudo section, where there is variations on one of the A theme variations. This section is filled with whole tone scales and E pedal tones. The rhythm of this section is also more complex. This section ends at measure thirty-eight on a five-one cadence to the key of E.
At bar thirty-eight another theme, which seems to be a variation on the previous theme for it is also whole tonal. This section uses planning and repetition of rhythm as in the previous sections. At fifty-four another five-one cadence ends this section.
In Measure fifty-five there is the first truly different theme, which is stated by the woodwinds. This section continues to use planning, but it now adds tri-tone root movement. In seventy-three and four there is another five-one cadence, but instead of changing sections Debussy repeats the B theme again before returning to the A theme at seventy-nine, only this time it's in a different key. The A theme is again put through variations. Pedal tones, tri-tone resolutions, whole tone scales and chromatic thirds are use in the harmonies. All themes are used in the ending of the work, but the A theme is predominant. The work ends by going back and forth from the C sharp minor and its' relative ending on the major.
Many techniques are used in this work to create clarity, but I think that repetition is the main reason that this piece works so well.
Copyrighted by Michael Cooke, 2003.