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The Cycle of French Piano Duets: Gabriel Fauré's Dolly Suite, Op.56, Claude Debussy's Petite Suite, and Maurice Ravel's Ma mère l’Oye
Chang, Joanne Chew Ann

2012, BM, Kent State University, College of the Arts / School of Music.

The nineteenth century brought tremendous growth to the piano duet repertoire. The keyboard was further developed and transformed to the modern piano, which allowed composers to exploit the capabilities of the instrument through piano duet compositions. As a response to the vast development of the modern piano, French composers of late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries began producing today’s masterworks of the piano duet repertoire. During 1886-1910, the growth of piano duets in France is evident with the three composers and works discussed in further detail: Gabriel Fauré’s (1845-1924) Dolly Suite, Op.56, Claude Debussy’s (1862-1918) Petite Suite, and Maurice Ravel’s (1875-1937) Ma mère l’Oye. A biographical description of each composer and a harmonic analysis of each composition are provided in this paper.


All the three piano duets reflected different writing styles and interpretations of each composer. Fauré composed the Dolly Suite based on children themes of Hélène Bardac, or more commonly known as Dolly, the dedicatee of the suite. A light-hearted work, the Dolly Suite successfully portrays the composer’s sensitivity in composition. An early work of Debussy, the Petite Suite does not reflect his later Impressionistic style. He wrote these pieces based on ideas of the Baroque dance suites. Similar to Fauré, Ravel’s Ma mère l’Oye is a set of enchanting pieces based on children’s tales. The Mother Goose Suite reflects one of Ravel’s finest compositions of his innovative, imaginative, and intricate compositional style. These three piano duet masterworks by the three important French composers: Fauré, Debussy, and Ravel are notable works to be studied in the piano duet repertoire.

Jerry Wong, DMA (Advisor)
Donna Lee, DMA (Committee Member)
Bill Sallak, DMA (Committee Member)
Donald Williams, PhD (Committee Member)
74 p.

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Chang, J. (2012). The Cycle of French Piano Duets: Gabriel Fauré's Dolly Suite, Op.56, Claude Debussy's Petite Suite, and Maurice Ravel's Ma mère l’Oye. (Electronic Thesis or Dissertation). Retrieved from https://etd.ohiolink.edu/

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Chang, Joanne Chew Ann. "The Cycle of French Piano Duets: Gabriel Fauré's Dolly Suite, Op.56, Claude Debussy's Petite Suite, and Maurice Ravel's Ma mère l’Oye." Electronic Thesis or Dissertation. Kent State University, 2012. OhioLINK Electronic Theses and Dissertations Center. 29 May 2015.

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Chang, Joanne Chew Ann "The Cycle of French Piano Duets: Gabriel Fauré's Dolly Suite, Op.56, Claude Debussy's Petite Suite, and Maurice Ravel's Ma mère l’Oye." Electronic Thesis or Dissertation. Kent State University, 2012. https://etd.ohiolink.edu/

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