What do Debussy and Ravel have in common? Apart from the obvious, of course, they are composers, but there is also something that connects them: their passion for cats.

Their love and admiration for these mischievous little animals has been responsible for the creation of some of their compositions. If you want to know more about the inspiring musical side of these animals, continue reading this post…

5 cats who inspired musicians

Five cute kittens who inspired famous composers

1. Pulcinella
This name coming from the Commedia dell’Arte is the name of Domenico Scarlatti‘s cat. Domenico was a baroque composer in the Kingdom of Naples, so he ended up living in Spain. I have included his portrait in this post to show you his face.
Domenico was specialized in sonatas for harpsichord and according to his biography, Pulcinella walked across the keys of his harpsichord, and played the first six notes of which later became the Fugue in G minor or ‘the Cats’s Fugue’: G-Bb-Eb-F#-Bb-C#. You can listen to the whole composition in this video.
2. Many cats…
Antonio Sacchini, an eighteenth-century Italian opera composer (see his biography in this link) confessed that he could only create a suitable environment to compose his operas… when he was surrounded completely by cats! How many cats? A lot of them…
3. Valdeck
As Scarlatti, Frédéric Chopin had a cat responsible for having inspired him a composition: the Waltz in F Major Op. 34, no. 3, also called ‘The Waltz of the Cat’. This cute feline was called Valdeck.
You can hear the waltz here, I love it and I think that Valdeck should be very naughty…
4. Angora
Claude Debussy‘s cat’s name is unknown, but the truth is that all his Angora cats had the same name: when a cat died, the next arriving one received the same name.

According to this article, Debussy allowed his cats to walk around the scores and disorder his desk, because he loved them so much and they helped him to concentrate and to create his music.
5. Siamese
Check out this post about the love of Maurice Ravel for cats, and you will find out that he even took care of picking up street cats. He preferred Siamese cats (he had an entire family in his house) and it is said that he communicated with them and could understand even their answers.
In 1925 he premiered an opera called ‘L’enfant et les sortileges’; it was about objects that come to life and talking animals, speaking to a child who does not respect any of them.