Vol. 2 nº 1, janvier 2014
Claude Debussy’s Welte-Mignon piano rolls of 1912 reveal that (Debussy 1912), as a pianist, he firmly upheld late-Romantic performing traditions. His playing as heard in the rolls produced imaginative effects and characterizations that reflect the practices of his time. Much analysis has been done on these piano rolls with the aim of revealing his practices and for editorial purposes; as a reference point, the Durand-Costellat edition of Debussy’s complete piano works by Roy Howat (Debussy 1985-2002) contains valuable comparative insights between the score and the piano rolls. Richard Langham-Smith’s “Debussy on Performance. Sound and Unsound Ideals” (1999) and Charles Timbrell’s “Debussy in Performance” (2003) are among the various literature that deal with understanding the performing practices of Debussy and his contemporaries. And my paper, “Debussy and Late-Romantic Performing Practices. An Investigation of the Piano Rolls of 1912” (2012), contains a cross-sectional analysis of the piano rolls showing his use of late-Romantic practices that are seldom used today. An interesting and potentially fruitful progression of this research would be to analyze his performing practices in relation to musical structure and meaning.