Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Sunrise to sunset in Claude Debussy's "Arabesque No.1"

The poetic prose in “The Waves,” is so rich and full that it is hard to imagine that Virginia Woolf could have written this novel anywhere but outside amongst nature because she captures it so well.

The use of imagery in her novel is so vivid that there are times I feel lost in her writing, and it is evident that sound is very much an influence for this novel more than any of her others.

In regard to sounds, I love reading with classical music playing in the background. It’s not only a great way for me to unwind, but there’s something about it that instills a type of peace within me.

I spent the day re-reading some sections in the beginning of the novel. Because this book was so unique from her other works, I found that the shock factor that I felt when first reading the novel diminished some of my comprehension.

I did my usual routine today. I cracked open the window, made a cup of hot green tea, turned on Pandora (To the Beethoven station) and began reading.

The first song that came on was Claude Debussy’s “Arabesque No. 1” and I was instantly amazed at how the melody mirrored the rhythm and texture of Woolf’s introduction. Debussy wanders through modes and keys, and this type of rhythm made me imagine a scene of a sun rising and a sun setting. The similarities between his strokes on the piano and the rhythm evoked in Woolf’s writing are astonishing. I googled “Arabesque No. 1” and to my surprise found that Debussy’s view of a musical arabesque was a lined curved in accordance to nature. Debussy expressed that “was the age of the ‘wonderful arabesque,’ when music was subject to the laws of beauty inscribed in the movements of Nature herself.”

I hope you guys enjoy!

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