TERM PROJECT


The central piece for my project will be Duparc's Phidylé, although as stated below, I will probably make reference to other songs (most likely Chausson's Le Colibri and Duparc's L'Invitation au Voyage, and hopefully a Debussy piece).

As I have expressed an inordinate amount of interest in French song (and Duparc specifically) during the course of this seminar, it would be remiss of me not to analyze at least one Duparc song for my final project. I would like to apply Schenker's methods (or, more likely, a quasi-schenker analysis if this is in fact possible and I think that it is), and set theory, those being the two major systems of analysis that we have learned in this seminar. I would like to apply Didier Guigue's Object-Oriented Analysis to this piece, as I think that this system would have a lot to offer these songs, but that analytical system is, for the moment, limited to piano pieces, and in any case I am not proficient in midi technology to do it, so this is a moot point altogether. I do think there is a similarity between Debussy and Duparc though, and I will be applying some of the theories of Richard Parks (from his book The Music of Claude Debussy) in an attempt to possibly make this similarity into a more concrete connection. (This may involve some analysis and comparison of songs by Duparc and Debussy). I will also examine musical-textual relations, perhaps in a musical sense. Finally, I would like to review two or three recordings of this song (with the analysis in mind), to see if there is some way in which to connect any conclusions with an actual performance.

A capsule biography of Duparc for those who are not familiar with him: He was born in Paris in 1948 - he wrote seventeen songs in sixteen years - 1868-1884. (Originally he was thought to have composed only fourteen but three new one have been discovered*). He lived for another 48 years (1933) without composing - he suffered from a nervous disease which is commonly thought of as a major factor in his compositional silence during this final period of his life. There is a severe lack of writing about Duparc and his music, which I must say I find a bit surprising as well as rather depressing. Although he did not have a very prolific output for a 19th century composer, he is - along with Faure - the most popular French Melodie composer of this period.

* see Elson, James. The Seventeen Songs of Henri Duparc. The NATS Bulletin vol. 28 no.4, p 8-11)

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