The As A Form Of Influence On European Art

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In nineteenth century Europe, exoticism grew in popularity as a form of influence on European art. Renown art historian Enrico Crispolti defines exoticism as “the imitation of elements in alien cultures that differ from native traditions.” Exoticism carries its own spectrum of interpretation, in that certain works of art can fall under or between two main categories: pure exoticism and transcultural composing. Through the use of non-Western elements in Western music, exoticism seeks to evoke a group perceived as different, often by “othering” said group. Ralph P. Locke, former professor of musicology at Eastman School of Music, views pure exoticism as a “form of exoticism with the purpose of representing an exotic subject as different from what is considered acceptable or appropriate.” Transcultural composing focuses on a hybrid of Western and non-Western styles, and is intended to pay a tribute to the music. There is no clear-cut definition of musical exoticism, but rather a window open to varied interpretations and opinions. Renowned for his operas, English composer Benjamin Britten wrote Death in Venice which uses non-Western elements to represent something as “other” within the character of the protagonist, Aschenbach. On the spectrum of exoticism, Britten’s Death in Venice falls under the category of transcultural composing due to Britten’s respectful use and understanding of gamelan-style music. Claude Debussy, one of the most influential French composers of the

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