Reconsidering Debussy's Danse Sacrée et Dance Profane from a Performative Perspective
Arts and Sciences
This presentation investigates Debussy's Dance Sacrée et Dance Profane and some score-based issues such as instrument-specific notation, from both a historical and a performance-based perspective. Scholars and music historians have investigated Debussy's impressionistic style and musical compositions for decades. But only recent methodological developments in the humanities have given legitimacy to performance-based types of "knowledge". This presentation relies on both historical and performance-based evidence. The historical evidence is derived from careful study of the sources, including the composition and the composer's instructions located in the score. The performative evidence is drawn from empirical study over six weeks and includes notes and observations from a practice journal, as well as demonstrations on the harp in my SOURCE presentation. I argue that instrument-specific notational issues composed into the piece challenge today's harpist to find their own individual solutions. These solutions allow unlocking a sound world that goes beyond traditional approaches -- and perhaps beyond what Debussy had in mind -- but help foster a more nuanced understanding of the pieces.
Swopes, Alana, "Reconsidering Debussy's Danse Sacrée et Dance Profane from a Performative Perspective" (2021). Symposium on Undergraduate Research and Creative Expression (SOURCE). 930.