Impressionist Radio Stations

Throughout history, art and music have developed in parallel with each other. The impressionist movement is no exception. Impressionism in art began in France near the end of the 19th century. As you can see in the example to the right, impressionist painters did not seek to show reality in the classical sense of a picture-perfect image; instead, they emphasized light and color to give an overall "impression" of their subjects.

Much in the same way, impressionism in music aims to create descriptive impressions, not necessarily to draw clear pictures. The music is not designed to explicitly describe anything, but rather to create a mood or atmosphere. This is done through almost every aspect of music: melody, harmony, color, rhythm, and form. Melodies tend to be short in nature, often repeated in different contexts to give different moods. In terms of color (see also chromaticism), notes are often drawn from scale systems other than the traditional major and minor. These include pentatonic, whole-tone, or other exotic scales (for example, Debussy, a major figure of impressionism, was influenced by Asian music).
The use (or misuse, as some critics might say) of harmony was a major part of impressionism. Impressionists did not use chords in the traditional way. For nearly the entire history of Western music, chords had been used to build and relieve tension, thus giving the music a sense of direction. A nice example to use here is Mozart's famous Sonata in A, K.331. You can definitely hear the harmonies constantly leading the music forward until it finally reaches resolution on the final note.

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