The French composer Claude Debussy once said that, "Music is the space between the notes." Google on Thursday marked the 151st anniversary of Debussy’s birth with a tuneful doodle that offers a certain Parisian flare.
The animated doodle is set on the shores of the Seine after dark while ships and cars pass and lights and smokestacks flicker in tempo to the composer's well-known piece “Clair de Lune.”
The two-minute animation ends with a pair of rowboats bumping and the people inside sharing a red umbrella in the rain.
So what's the story behind the song?
Debussy started composing "Clair de Lune," which translates to "moonlight," in 1890 at age 28 but the piece remained unfinished for 15 years until it was published in 1905.
The song has had a lot of play before the search engine’s tribute: Since the 1930s, “Clair de Lune” has appeared in dozens of films, from James Dean's “Giant” to the scene outside the Bellagio's fountains in "Ocean's Eleven" and inside "Twilight's" strategically placed Volvo.
Debussy also had a well-traveled life. He was born on Aug. 22, 1862, in the northwestern suburbs of Paris. His father was a china shop salesman.
Although his sizable family (he was the oldest of five children) was short on cash, Debussy enrolled in piano lessons at age 7 and by 10 landed a spot at the Paris Conservatory.
Debussy later traversed Europe for 12 years as an instructor and composer and racked up a series of marriages, divorces and affairs, which yielded only one surviving child, Claude-Emma.
Although Debussy's personal turmoil proved fodder for Paris society, his works were praised, including the Grand Prix de Rome prize-winning "L'enfant Prodigue" (The Prodigal Son) and "Pelléas and Mélisande," an opera reworked from Maurice Maeterlinck’s play of the same name.
Debussy died of colon cancer at his home in Paris in 1918 at the age of 55. His daughter died a year later.
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