Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)



First Advisor

[?] M. Den[?]


As far as the writer could find in her reading no one has ever written a finished study of this phase of Music, Art, and Literature. Of course, there are hints of it here and there in many books, but in no one in particular was a detailed study given. Paul Landormy’s book, A History of Music, seemed to carry the heart of the subject, however, in an extremely miniature style.

When we think of French music, our minds are generally centered in Paris, for it is here that the greatest organizations have been sponsored, and the important musical ideas have been developed, representing France as a whole. In 1870 no one had a lighter heritage than French musicians; for the past had been forgotten, and such a thing as real musical education did not exist. The musical weakness of that time was a very curious thing, and has given many people the impression that France has never been a musical nation. Historically speaking, nothing could be more wrong. Certainly there are races more gifted than others; but often the seeming differences of races are really the difference of time; anda nation appears great or little in its art according to the particular period of its history we consider. Perhaps the impression that France was not a musical nation was incurred by the fact that for nearly a century before Debussy’s time. French music had practically no national character. Naturally, Claude Debussy did not complete the task of nationalizing French music alone. This nationalization was a surging of ideas that had been forming for thirty years or more before his time, and to which the greatest musical intellects had contributed. However, none has attacked the problem of a truly French musical spirit with more outstanding proofs and a more clear-visioned conscience than Debussy.