Orientalism Conveyed Through Music in 19th Century French Opera

I studied music in high school. As part of the IB Diploma Program, I wrote my extended essay (capstone research paper) on a topic the intersection of music and philosophy.

Orientalism is a theory posited by Edward Said exploring the depicition of the East (the Orient) by Western civilization. In this paper, I looked at how musical devices and compositional techniques were used to “evoke” the Orient in French Opera of the late 19th century. The key idea is that music can “render” a locale and cultural aesthetics.

I am sharing this because it is a piece of work that I am extremely proud of.

I owe all guidance on this paper, and a major part of my intellectual development inside and outside the classroom, to Mrs. Priya Chaturvedi, my music and piano teacher at my boarding school.