Tonal Ambiguity in Debussy's Piano Works
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Claude Debussy lived at a special point in the history of Music: .the turning point from the nineteenth to the twentieth century. As many of his contemporaries did, he tried to free himself from all the limitations of functional harmony and tonality. Instead of using. extreme chromaticism, he employed medieval church modes, whole-tone and pentatonic scales, planing, stepwise root movement, and harmonies built on intervals other than the third. All these factors tend to reject local tonal hierarchies and help to achieve tonal ambiguity. This study traces the gradual shift from clarity of tonality towards tonal ambiguity in Debussy's piano music and examines a variety of compositional techniques that he applied to achieve tonal ambiguity in each work.