1st April – Clair de Lune

‘Clair de Lune’ was written in about 1890 by French composer Claude Debussy. It’s the third movement (of four) in a longer piece of music for piano called ‘Suite Bergamasque’.

Some people describe Debussy’s music as Impressionist – like the painter Monet (you might have seen his famous Water Lilies painting). The music might give the vague ‘impression’ of something or convey a feeling or atmosphere, rather than describing a scene in great detail with crisp edges. Tricky stuff!

  • In English, Clair de Lune means ‘Moonlight’. Does it sound like moonlight to you? What mood does this music suggest to you? Can you image a scene or story that might suit this music?
  • What time signature is this piece in? Can you tell?! Can you clap a beat? I think the answer is ‘no!’ or ‘it’s very difficult!’ because the performer is not keeping the beat steady. He’s doing this on purpose – what effect does this have on how the piece sounds?
  • Listen carefully to the beginning of the piece. Can you spot this tune when it returns later on?

This article was written by alison