Claude Debussy and Hazrat Inayat Khan: sound like the universe




French music of the 20th century, Debussy's music, Debussy's style, Inayat Khan's music, sound as a phenomenon, sound as a universe, musical language, East and West, Orientalism, metaphysics of sound, mysticism of sound, Indian music, raga


Relevance of the study. The main aspects of the understanding of the essence of sound by brilliant contemporaries — Claude Debussy (1862-1918) and the Indian musician and philosopher Hazrat Inayat Khan (1882-1927) were studied. It is noted that the unconventional horizons of Claude Debussy's music surprised listeners from the very first of his works and determined the inertia of comparisons of the composer's works with the paintings of impressionist contemporaries. It is emphasized that the composer constantly refused the title of "impressionist" which established in the listeners a false instruction to "see" sound events only as skillfully reflected movement of physical objects. Unfortunately, the mechanism of the composer's creation of musical fabric is still not fully understood, and his new understanding of the essence of sound is often drowned in general reflections on the names of works and expressiveness of individual techniques. It was determined that Debussy's style was determined by: 1) symbolist poetry; 2) musical culture of South Asia and the East. It is noted that the study of the second fundamental component of Debussy's style requires awareness of the new paradigm of thinking of the European composer, who sought to go beyond the sound structures of Western music.

The main objective of the study is to highlight the main sources of the formation of the new concept of sound by Claude Debussy and its resonances with the doctrine of the "mysticism of sound" of Hazrat Inayat Khan.

The scientific novelty is determined by the fact that the sound phenomenon of Claude Debussy is considered as a unique semantic space, which was determined by the composer's awareness of the traditions of East Asian music. For the first time in Ukrainian musicology, the ways of crossing the artistic guidelines of Claude Debussy and the outstanding representative of Indian culture — the musician, poet, composer and philosopher Hazrat Inayat Khan, are specifically considered.

The methodology of the article is based on historical, comparative and phenomenological methods of analysis.

Results / findings and conclusions. It has been found that the basis of the formation of Debussy's creative credo is an unprecedented attention to sound. It is emphasized that sound is the foundation of the formation of a "unique sound reality" (Yu. Dufour) as a special spiritual dimension that manifests the beauty and infinity of the universe. It is proved that among all the parameters of Debussy's musical language, it is the sound that determines the logic of the organization of the whole as a "timbral composition". It is emphasized that the essence of transformations in the system of musical thinking carried out by Debussy in the context of the spread of East Asian influences on European culture is clearly revealed by the appeal to the fundamental concept of sound of the famous Indian Sufi Hazrat Inayat Khan. It is noted that the intersections of views on the music of French and Indian artists show the unity of aspirations to discover the sources of spiritual light and eternal beauty as the basis of the universe, and their heritage gives modern man the key to understanding the laws of his existence - sound that manifests the connections of the micro- and macrocosm.

As a result, it is proven that the vectors of perception of the works of Claude Debussy and the music of Inayat Khan unfold as wide as the auditory experience allows, which leads the listener from a "two-dimensional sound picture" to an infinite spatial field of meanings that form their own universe of sound. It is emphasized that composers of subsequent generations continued this path, transforming the musical space of the 20th and 21st centuries with movement into depth, infinity, beauty and metaphysical power of sound.

Author Biography

Valeriya Zharkova, Tchaikovsky National Music Academy of Ukraine

доктор мистецтвознавства, професор, завідувач кафедри історії світової музики


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