Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



College of Creative Arts


School of Music

Committee Chair

Peter Amstutz

Committee Co-Chair

Lucy Mauro

Committee Member

Andrew Kohn

Committee Member

John Goldwasser


The connection between nature and the music of Claude Debussy is unique and fascinating, with nature serving as a source of influence and inspiration for Debussy. Debussy looked upon nature with veneration and this viewpoint helped to form the musical ideals that he pursued while breaking with the traditional forms of music. References to nature appear in the descriptive titles of many works by Debussy, but this research focuses on selected piano works from his two books of Images. Debussy’s sense of connection to nature in his music, especially when viewed through the lenses of the Impressionist and Symbolist movements, along with influences from the Javanese Gamelan, helps us to understand the formation of his musical background in the fin-de-siècle era. Ultimately, we can see from Debussy’s writings that his goal in music is to achieve a freedom that already exists within the realms of nature and the imagination.