Joseph-Maurice Ravel was a French composer known especially for his melodies, orchestral and instrumental textures and effects. Along with Claude Debussy, he was one of the most prominent figures associated with Impressionist music.
Ravel's music was innovative, though he did not follow the contemporary trend towards atonality, as pioneered by Schoenberg. Instead, he applied the aesthetics of the new French school of Chabrier, Satie, and particularly Debussy. Ravel's compositions rely upon modal melodies instead of using the major or minor scales for their predominant harmonic language. He preferred modes with major or minor flavors; for example, the Mixolydian instead of the major scale, and the Aeolian instead of the harmonic minor. As a result, there are virtually no leading tones in his output. Melodically, he tended to favor two modes: the Dorian and the Phrygian. Following the teachings of Gédalge, Ravel placed high importance on melody, once stating to Vaughan Williams, that there is "an implied melodic outline in all vital music."