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Thread: Claude Debussy

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    Rick's Avatar
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    Default Claude Debussy

    Based on several piano pieces that I have heard, I thought he might be IEI. Then I found some of his pictures and thought SEI might be possible. Then I read his bio (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Claude_Debussy and http://classicalnotes.net/classics/lamer.html).

    What do you think?



    Here are pictures of the composer / pianist:







    Last edited by silke; 07-13-2014 at 02:58 PM. Reason: updated links

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    Interresting... his look and expressions are very much like mine but that description of his personality couldn't be more different than me. It's not really a "social" person but when I do go out it's really easy for me to make friends without even trying and I'm well liked by the ones I do have. If I'm and SEI and he's an SEI he's a pretty shitty one compared to me That's my two cents...

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    Don't forget the the thehotelambush's Avatar
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    Possibly INFj. I somehow doubt he is an Fe-quadra type:

    Besides that, unlike Schubert's friendly attitude, Debussy was not attractive to his friends and he was very choosy about his friends.

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    From what I know of his (tumultuous) life, and music, I believe ENFp.

    Supposedly, he felt intense inner-rivalries with various composers, (first Ravel, and later Stravinsky.) He was extremely sensitive to poetry, (especially the sensual poetry of Verlaine, Mallarme, and the other symbolists.) His compositions exemplify 'color' and 'mood' above all, but do not ignore classical structure. Personally, his friend considered him kind and caring--also a stubborn hothead.

    Largely through the force of his own remarkable personality, his music became a Parisian cause celebre during the late 1800s.

    Neither here nor there, but his first wife committed suicide.

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    Sometimes I wonder if reports of famous composers and writers being very anti-social are due to the fact that many of these people were so committed to their artistic ambition that they shut themselves off from all else, hence distorting the way their personality appears.

    I can see why you'd say the music sounds like IEI, as it suggests watery, ethereal Ni. On the other hand, I can see a case for Fi > Fe, which might suggest EII. His music seems to be structured from the inside out, like that of an Ij.

    If he was IEI, EII, or another similar type, the fact that he was antisocial doesn't necessarily contradict that.

    While typically one thinks of those types as friendly and easy-going, I've known some IEIs and EIIs who are very tough to get to know. Sometimes, Fs put on a sort of a shell...a "fake T" that's not meant to analyze data but is rather there to keep away certain people.

    On the other hand, if you get a strong Ni and Fi impression, I suppose that would indicate ILI, though I don't get a clear ILI vibe.

    Might an EII's expression seem watery and ethereal?

    So, I guess I'm not much help...But I would vote for him being an N type, probably IN--something (although the 4th picture does look like an SEI....but only that one, as far as I can tell).
    There seem to be a number of good books on his life, but unfortunately not as much online.

    I'll sure be interested in what you come up with.

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    Actually, I could see support for IEI, Ni subtype maybe? The trick is in determining if the sense of "internally-focused structure" is due to Fi or HA-Ti. That's a similar issue when considering Brahms's type.

    Then there's that sort of easy-going, "keep things simple" quality to his music...so maybe that could support SEI...but maybe not a real SEI...maybe he's an IEI who thinks he's an SEI? I get a sense that a lot of composers create their own Si state through their Ni imagination...I get that sense from Chopin, possibly.

    Oh well, just a few more clueless answers.

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    Don't forget the the thehotelambush's Avatar
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    Debussy is often called a musical Impressionist, invoking an analogy to the emerging trend in French painting in which, in Paul Henry Lang's pithy phrase, the how dominates the what. Detail of a Renoir painting of a water lily, showing the vivid, discrete brushstokes that give the distinctive Impressionist look As Lang and Jonathan Kramer noted, much as earlier painters used color and light to illuminate realistic objects, musicians' textures had always served to articulate or enrich their melodic, harmonic or rhythmic structures, but Debussy was the first composer to create music of sheer sonority that simply was allowed to exist, without constantly having to progress toward a prescribed goal. As David Ewen put it, for Debussy color, nuance, mood, atmosphere and sensation were far more significant than drama or realism - his music is intended to appeal to the senses, not the intellect.

    Debussy chafed at the comparison with the Impressionist painters, since his work was far less representational (although perhaps he would have felt differently had he known the very late works of Cezanne and Monet, in which their subjects are far less apparent). Indeed, by its very nature music is abstract, free from the realistic imagery to which the visual arts are inexorably tied. Rather, he aligned himself with the Symbolist poets, who reveled more in the sound of words than in their actual meaning, and sought to suggest reality through a dream-world of metaphor and symbol.
    Debussy was described by his associates as a difficult and reserved man, with an independence that bordered on disdain for convention. From about this time, he began a liaison with Gabrielle Dupont (profession unknown) with whom he lived in near poverty for the next nine years.
    http://www.classicalarchives.com/bios/debussy_bio.html

    This part is kind of interesting:

    In his desire to move beyond the all pervasive Wagnerisms of the day, Debussy used a new vocabulary including whole tone, modal, and pentatonic scales that were in part influenced by his exposure to the Balinese gamelan orchestra that he heard at the World Exposition in 1889. Debussy found sonata procedures and German linear thinking meaningless to him. There is in mature Debussy less a reliance on thematic logic than on intuitive associations and connections. He wrote in 1902, "I wanted from music a freedom which it possesses perhaps to a greater degree than any other art, not being tied to a more or less exact reproduction of Nature but to the mysterious correspondences between Nature and Imagination."
    http://www.classicalarchives.com/bios/debussy_bio.html

    It seems as if he is denouncing TiSe.

    I'm pretty sure about Delta. I think ISTp could be a possibility too. His music does seem rather irrational.

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    Quote Originally Posted by thehotelambush
    I'm pretty sure about Delta. I think ISTp could be a possibility too. His music does seem rather irrational.
    And the descriptions seem irrational, and he looks irrational.

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    I suppose so. I still see a lot of Ni in the descriptions - maybe he was really INTp. This quotation, fwiw, suggests that he was highly critical in an INTp sort of way:

    "I am trying to do 'something different'-in a way realities-what the imbeciles call 'impressionism' is a term which is as poorly used as possible, particularly by art critics."

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    Quote Originally Posted by thehotelambush
    Debussy found sonata procedures and German linear thinking meaningless to him. There is in mature Debussy less a reliance on thematic logic than on intuitive associations and connections. He wrote in 1902, "I wanted from music a freedom which it possesses perhaps to a greater degree than any other art, not being tied to a more or less exact reproduction of Nature but to the mysterious correspondences between Nature and Imagination."
    http://www.classicalarchives.com/bios/debussy_bio.html
    It seems as if he is denouncing TiSe.

    I'm pretty sure about Delta. I think ISTp could be a possibility too. His music does seem rather irrational.
    But are sonata form and other tendencies of German composers to emphasize form really examples of Ti thinking? (Or TiSe for that matter?)

    These ways of organizing music focus on sequence. There seems to be a fitting parallel between that maner of organizing music and Te or Fe, especially with Ni. In contrast, music that develops organically based on an inner structure (counterpoint, melodic lines, etc.), with very little emphasis on sections and sequence of things, seems more related to Ti or Fe, with Ne.

    I flip back and forth on Debussy's type, but at the moment I'm considering Delta NF, possibly EII.

    Naturally, that doesn't fit with the fact that he "looks irrational."

    Suppose we considered EII; would EII, being a rational type, be too severe and structured to be the type of Debussy? Or could the intense sense of freedom in Debussy's music be a reflection of Ne, moving away from the inner structure that's his starting point? Incidentally, Rachmaninoff is considered INj by many socionists (INTj in that case), and his music has a very similar sense of freedom.

    Anyhow, lots of people are mentioning Delta. I have my own reasons for thinking he may be Delta. Why do other people think Delta?

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    Quote Originally Posted by thehotelambush
    I suppose so. I still see a lot of Ni in the descriptions - maybe he was really INTp. This quotation, fwiw, suggests that he was highly critical in an INTp sort of way:

    "I am trying to do 'something different'-in a way realities-what the imbeciles call 'impressionism' is a term which is as poorly used as possible, particularly by art critics."
    This makes sense. I wonder though if maybe a lot of really famous intellectuals think that way whether they're INTp or not (?).

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rick
    Quote Originally Posted by thehotelambush
    I'm pretty sure about Delta. I think ISTp could be a possibility too. His music does seem rather irrational.
    And the descriptions seem irrational, and he looks irrational.
    I'm not so great at VI....But I could see those pictures as maybe looking like some of Filatova's ISTp pictures. (?)

    If so...well, I've thought Stravinsky might be ISTp too....Also Haydn (thought quite a different musical personality). Actually, some MBTI-related site thinks Haydn's ENFP, for whatever that's worth. Could they be ISTp too, or more likely something else?

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    Clearly someone proficient in Ni. Beyond that, I couldn't say. Probably adept in Fe as well. But that doesn't mean he's a Beta NF, just that he's most likely an NF.
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    My uninformed impression was of an IJ from the photos. From the initial description of his bio, I thought INFj was possible, but there was almost too much Se in there. He also sounded Fi > Fe in his dealings with others. However, it seemed like the sensing was weak, and he placed a good deal of importance in the Si aspects of his music (the sound, use of pedal, etc). I could see the Se I saw as being a role he played. I think ENFp could work. ISFj flitted through my mind in the beginning, because I do see some Ni in his quotes, but they struck me as strong Ni rather than Ni HA. lol, I always feel very odd when I try to explain these things in words.
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    ISFp, Si sub.

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    agreed with SEI-Si

    "To create sensuous music expressing perfumes, mists, wind, he uses new musical scales [...] reveals how much he seeks above all to express the sensuous against all academic rules."

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    he could be SEI-Si.

    I find his music abhorrent. NTR, I guess.

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