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Analysis: Prelude Nº8, 1st Book (La fille aux cheveux de lin)- Debussy

Debussy wrote his preludes (two books) between 1909-1913 and the following analysis agrees to the Nº8 of the first book (… La filled aux cheveux de lin)

The piece starts with a Eb minor 7 arpeggio alone, and in bar 2-3 the melody is accompanied with a plagal cadence (IV-I) as we have seen in other pieces of Debussy and Ravel the fourth movement is used to create ambiguity. In bars 5-7 there is a harmonized melody, it´s remarkable here a couple of things. the first of all is that the chords in the left hand are almost exclusively constructed with 4ths and 5ths; in addition to what i said before this is also a technique to create ambiguity, and also here the chords are not following the tradicional movement that is expected from them. Also in 6-7 there is a perfect cadence to Eb, and we notice to see chromaticism on bar 6 to create the Bb that works as dominant to Eb. in bar 8-9 the opening theme plays again, now with chords dominant chords below, this chords have parallel movement (specially with dominants create a lot of ambiguity) and at last from bar 9 to 10 we have the first perfect cadence to Gb, followed by a scale of Gb major. From there is a new part in the Prelude, since here we notice a change in the texture of the piece, here we see that in the right hand he wrote an Eb minor pentatonic with big long accompaniment chrods below, with is clearly quite di erent from the first 11 bars of the piece; and also another big cadence to Gb. On bar 14 there is some paralell chords in second inversion (the two lower notes create a 4th interval) and in bar 15 appear a Db-7 arpeggio over a Gb that is in the bass that create a Gb sus sound that work as dominant to the next bar chord, a Cb (IV). In bar 17 there is a II-V movement and in 18 the first chord is a Eb-7 but the next chord is quite special; it´s Bb7sus, and if we look forward we see that the next chord/ few bars are basically Eb major, so this Bb7sus works as a pivot chord to modulate to Eb, this is possible because the fact that we don’t hear either D or Db creates the ambiguity that can be both which makes this transition really smooth, also using the last beat of bar 2 to create a familiar sound to the new key. the bars 19-21 are based on a ascending Eb mayor pentatonic repeating the same thing in 3 dierent octaves, but in the last beat of 21 a Cb major chord appears coming from nothing, and in bar 22-23 there is a succession of chords ascending parallel. it is also remarkable the last beat of the top voice on bar 22, I feel that this is the same material on bar 13, also the 2 lasts beats but in this case di erently measured. From bar 24 to 27 we find this 4 bars of parallel movement of chords, also the chords are built by 4ths and 5th. also the top voice of this bars is describing the Eb-7 (as in the begining) In bar 28 the opening theme show up again, but now with another new texture, with big long chords over the IV and the VI scale degrees, so each of three times this theme appears make each appearance completely di erent, which is a way of make new material out of the one the composer has without developing. on bar 33-34 the material on bar 14 is repeated and on bar 35 the 4ths appear again ascending before the last chord.

The form on this piece it is for me divided in 3, the first part from bar 1 to 11, the second one would be divided in 2, the first from 12-18 and the second from 18-27, and the final part from 28 to the end.