At the turn of the twentieth century, the world of classical music, much like the rest of the literary and artistic world, was undergoing revolutionary change in regard to what was considered tasteful and acceptable. If one were to review a basic timeline of the eras in classical music, they would note the very separate structure in these various eras, as well as particular attributes pertaining to the music of those respective times. To the connoisseur of classical music, identifying a musical work's historical origin is as simple as listening to a piece. When considering classcial music as has been made known to the world, France was never particularly prominent in producing great works until towards the end of the classical era. Its height is certainly noted to be within the Romantic era, while music's earlier roots held stronger in the Italian and Germanic world. The Romantic era spread throughout Europe in the nineteenth century, giving France the breadth to exhibit its emotional musical granduer; therefore, it is no suprise that when music began to break from its classically structured roots into the contemporary, experimental realm, France was once of the first nations to take the leap. French composer Claude Debussy is renown today for his contributions to the world of music. A genuine iconoclast, he was one of the first composers to break from the necessity of establishing melody: heresy to the old pricks at the conservatoire! Debussy had, in his mind, a genuis that not only revolutionized the world of music, but the critical way musicians use their inner ear. By experimenting with cacophany and the structure behind music theory, what was generally and concensually considered pleasing to the ear, Debussy delved into the world of music. His concern and attention to overtone was inclusive in his delicate musical practice. (An overtone is a rung tone that is audible as a result of the virbrations produced from a chord that is played; however the overtone is not actually struck on the instrument.) In 1911, amidst the most unusual of Debussy's experimental phase, towards the end of his life, Rollo H. Meyers, published an essay, "The Art of Claude Debussy" in Rythym. It is quite obvious that Meyers' held Debussy in high regard as a misunderstood genius conveying his radical "hip new beat" to the old conservative musical ear. Debussy's work in the field today has claimed its place in it's genre, along with the works of his progressive thinking contemporaries such as Maurice Ravel and Cesar Franck. His career marks the turn of the century and rite to the Impressionist, Modern music throne. Composers such as Britten and Vaughn- Williams in Britain were next to follow, and a great deal of what is know of American music by composers like Barber, Menotti, and Copland fall under this field; however, none of these said composers truly made their statement until after World War I. In the Germanic world? Contemporary music did not hit Germany or Vienna until even later! France led this race for certain.
In skimming these documents, it is more than apparent that French appears quite often as a device. Often the title or an epigraph can be found in French, while the rest of the piece is in English. It seems as though France, or the French language held an enigmatic claim to the bohemian tendencies of the Modernist movement. Le Petit Journal des Refusees carries it in its title, as do many poems and works in the archives. "Abstrosophy" is a short poem that discusses present struggle in its progressive state towards becoming reward; what seems negative now, will be held positive forthcoming, (much like the rebuke of Debussy's compositions). The first half of the poem is somewhat illegible, if it is even part of the poem. It seems to be set to music, but the staff it is written on is artistically curvy, and askew, which seems relevant to the ideas expressed about Debussy's musical style, although one would never attempt to read music off such a staff, so it must be meant as an artistic statement about music. Written in 1896, years before the article on Debussy's later work, the poem seems to foreshadow the Modernist movement that is coming. The word abstrosophy is not in the dictionary, nor is it a French word. I am plagued with curiosity: what does abstrosophy mean?