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Studies of ‘Nuages’, the first movement of Debussy’s Nocturnes, have generally centered on its innovative harmonic language, not on the connotations of its large-scale form. Most commentators have considered ‘Nuages’ to exhibit a more or less traditional (and hence unremarkable) ABA´ format. It is more productively read, though, as a rotational structure, unfolding in five cycles of differing lengths, with the ‘D# [modal] minor’ center of Rotation 4 (mm. 64-79, the B-section of the standard reading) understood as a separately bounded internal variant – a subsection within the rotation – that also functions as the movement’s telos or zone of maximal sonic disclosure. Each rotation is governed by the succession of two motives and their variants, which, adapting remarks of Debussy, I designate as CLOUDS (m. 1) and SONIC SIGNAL (m. 5). While much of this paper is devoted to explicating this reading, it is also concerned, on the hermeneutic level, with the task of interpreting the larger, fin-de-siècle connotations of the composer’s structural and textural choices – dissolving traditional architectonic formats in favor of a freer, less constrained music of varying sonic intensities and circular durational spans.