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Compare and contrast Impressionism, Neoclassicism, and Expressionism



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    Compare and contrast Impressionism, Neoclassicism, and Expressionism

                Impressionism, Neoclassicism, and Expressionism are three art movements and styles that occurred nearly simultaneously but are different from one another. Impressionism in music is basically a movement in the latter part of the 19th century and the early 20th century that mainly focused on creating impressions instead of explicitly describing something. It basically focuses on harmony, form, color, and melody in order to create an atmosphere or mood instead depicting an emotion or a portrayal of a story (Quazen, 2008). Two of the great impressionist composers are Maurice Ravel, who is known for his piano compositions Jeux d’eau and Gaspard de la Nuit, and Claude Debussy, who composed pieces such as Clair de Lune, Nocturnes, and La Mer (Think, 2008). Neoclassicism in music, on the other hand, is characterized by producing music or sounds using fewer instruments and is also the revival of the balanced techniques and processes used in the 18th century (MSN Encarta, 2008). The most important composers in neoclassicism include Igor Stravinsky, who produced the ballet Pulcinella; Sergei Provokiev, who composed the highly popular Symphony no. 1; and Paul Hindermith, who produced the orchestral work Mathis del Maler (Think, 2008). Finally, Expressionism in music is generally characterized by the absence of tonality but with a strong expression of the emotions being presented. The key figures in expressionism in music are Arnold Schoenberg, who composed the monodrama Erwartung and the revolutionary Sting Quartet No. 2 (Think, 2008).

                Basically, the main differences among the three styles are the use of the elements of music and the way of expression. In Impressionism, emotions and feelings are not explicitly expressed and instead several musical elements such as harmony and color are used to illustrate something while in Expressionism, there is little to no usage of tone and the emotions are clearly expressed. On the other hand, Neoclassicism is a more balanced style that deviates from the exaggerations of the processes of other styles such as Romanticism.


    MSN Encarta. (2008). Neoclassicism. Retrieved July 4, 2008 from

    Quazen. (2008). Impressionism. Retrieved July 4, 2008 from (2008). Expressionism. The Music Chamber. Retrieved July 4, 2008 from (2008). Impressionism. The Music Chamber. Retrieved July 4, 2008 from (2008). Neoclassicism. The Music Chamber. Retrieved July 4, 2008 from


    Compare and contrast Impressionism, Neoclassicism, and Expressionism. (2016, Oct 17). Retrieved from

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