Impressionism in music was a movement in European classical music, mainly in France, which appeared in the late nineteenth century and continued into the beginning of the twentieth century. Similarly to its precursor in the visual arts, musical impressionism focuses on a suggestion and an atmosphere rather than on a strong emotion or the depiction of a story as in program music. Musical impressionism occurred as a reaction to the excesses of the Romantic era....
Musical impressionism was based in France by the French composer Claude Debussy. He and Maurice Ravel were generally considered to be the two "great" impressionists.
Ernest Fanelli was claimed to have innovated the style, though his works were unperformed before 1912. Some important precursors of musical impressionism include works by Chopin, Liszt, Mussorgsky, Chabrier, and Grieg.
The French composer Maurice Duruflé is sometimes said to be "the Ravel of the organ" and is clearly inspired by both Ravel and Debussy in several of his compositions, most notably perhaps the Sicilliene of the Suite pour orgue, op. 5. A Duruflé biography edited by Ronald Ebrecht is even titled "The last Impressionist".
Impressionism has also influenced at least some of the music of Isaac Albéniz, John Alden Carpenter, Frederick Delius, Paul Dukas, Manuel de Falla, Charles Tomlinson Griffes, and Ottorino Respighi....