Impressionism in Music and Art

Impressionism in Music and Art

Todd Beaney
[email protected]
Rye HS/MS, Rye, NY

TI:ME Technology Areas Addressed:

Multimedia/Digital Media


Middle / 7th or 8th grade / General Music


Computer Lab with Internet connection, sound capability, and headphones–one computer for each student


40 Minutes

Prior Knowledge and Skills:

None needed.

MENC Standards Addressed:

MENC 6: Listening to, analyzing and describing music.
MENC 8: Understanding relationships between music, the other arts, and disciplines outside the arts.
MENC 9: Understanding Music in Relation to History and Culture




Students will view paintings by Monet and listen to music by Debussy.
Students will describe music by Debussy.
Students will identify connections between the paintings by Monet and the music by Debussy.


1. Bring students to lab and instruct them to go to
2. Once there, they should choose Contemporary, then choose Debussy_and_Monet/
3. Clone the window
4. Resize one window to contain the Monet painting Le Parlement, Effet de Brouillard, 1904 (Parliament, Effect of Fog)
5. Resize the second window to put it side by side with first; play the audio Debussy file La cathedrale engloutie (the sunken cathedral) (1910). Study the painting as you listen to the music and read the paragraph on the web page.
6. Write at least one paragraph that answers the following questions: The painting was created several years before the music was written. Do you think it is possible that Debussy may have been influenced by this painting when he wrote this music? Describe any aspects of the music that remind you of the painting.
7. Repeat steps 4-6 for the other painting on this page, Essai de figure en plein air, 1886 (Test of a figure in open air) and composition, La fille aux cheveux de lin (Maid with the Flaxen Hair), 1910.
8. Write one final paragraph: Which of these two pairs do you think is more closely related? Why?


Students’ written assignment addresses questions asked, shows thoughtful comparisons, and shows efforts to connect the artist and the composer.

Follow Up:

Deeper research on Debussy (and Monet).
More listening examples of Debussy.
Exposure to other Impressionists (Renoir; Ravel).
Similar lessons with other style periods.

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