Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name





Sylvia Kahan

Joseph N. Straus

Subject Categories

Music | Theatre and Performance Studies


Ballet, Debussy, Piano


The influence of Claude Debussy's inventive musical language can be traced through to the most modern classical repertoire. Yet of the composer's three ballets, which provided the counterweight to the Russian dominance of Parisian ballet culture in the early 1900s, only Jeux has received substantial scholarly attention. The following document is a monograph on La Boîte à joujoux (1913), Debussy's innovative ballet for children or marionettes. It offers an exploration of the work's broader significance and contextualizes it both within Debussy's oeuvre and in a broader historical realm. Included is a survey of the ballet's performance history, as well as an analysis of its musical language, which establishes La Boîte à joujoux as a microcosm of Debussy's stylistic elements and an encyclopedia of allusions and direct borrowing from other composers, styles, folk and popular music.

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