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anmolosm   , 32

from New York

Claire de Lune by Debussy


There are four movements of Suite Bergamasque, which is one of the most famous piano suites of Claude Debussy, a French composer. The Bergamask was known to be a clumsy rustic dance, derived from the natives of Bergamo, northern region of Italy. The dance is associated with buffoonery or clowns due to the awkward manners of the inhabitants. The best part of Suite Bergamasue is its third movement, which is called “Claire de Lune By Debussy” that means Moonlight. The inspiration of the name came from poem in 1869 of Paul Verlaine, which also referenced a Bergamask.

The original title of Claire de Lune was “Promenade Sentimentale”, which was later changed to Clair de Lune, before publishing it. It was commenced in 1980 but was not published until 1905. The name change happened to connect it with the Symbolist movement. Verlaine was one of the leaders of the movement. The moon became the favorite symbol due to its indirect and mysterious light on the dark side of earth. The symbolists tried to enlighten the inaccessible regions of human soul by evoking moods and creating suggestive images.

Claire De Lune is known as Debussy’s most famous work. It has four movements. The first one is called ‘Prelude’, which has flowing phrases that are open with the use of legato phrases. The second movement is called ‘Menuet’, the third one is ever-popular ‘Claire de Lune’, while the fourth is called ‘Passepied’. These are light-footed and quick, more staccato in mood than the first one. It is a bit complicated for the left hand and needs wide hands to reach the keys on time to produce the perfect melody.

Claire de Lune is very famous as it is included in wide range of movies, TV shows as well as advertisements. It is also included in films and especially to the soundtrack ‘Giants’, which is James Dean’s last motion picture. It provides an elegant contrast to the lively second and fourth movements.


Your soul is a select landscape

Where charming masqueraders and bergamaskers go

Playing the lute and dancing and almost

Sad beneath their fantastic disguises.


All sing in a minor key

Of victorious love and the opportune life,

They do not seem to believe in their happiness

And their song mingles with the moonlight,


With the still moonlight, sad and beautiful,

That sets the birds dreaming in the trees

And the fountains sobbing in ecstasy,

The tall slender fountains among marble statues.

Paul Verlaine, 1869


This is an elegant movement, which is considered to be very calming and peaceful. It is a great and deep melody that improves the mood of the soul. The gentle nature of the melody makes the pianist play it with much soul and feelings.

With the music sheets available, it is easier to practice it, however, it needs comparatively longer time than majority of the melodies/poems of the same level. However, once you perfect it, you will never want to stop playing it!