Composer of the month
La cathédrale engloutie
Clair de Lune
La Mer is an orchestral piece by Debussy. The title means The Sea.
Nocturnes – this three part work was inspired by three impressionist paintings. The movements are called Clouds, Festivals, and Sirens.
Listening Guide For Clair de Lune
Clair de Lune has one of the most familiar and recognizable tunes of all time. The calm, graceful melody has been used in many movies and commercials.
The piece is actually the third movement of a collection of pieces by Debussy, called Suite bergamasque. The music for Au Clair de Lune was inspired by a poem by Paul Verlain. The title in English means “In the Moonlight.”
As you listen to the piece (above), think about the following questions:
1. How does the music portray the moonlight? What musical ideas make you think that the setting of the piece is at night time? (Consider tempo, rhythms, dynamics, the register in which the melody is in.)
2. Imagine you are a director using this music for a movie. What kind of a scene would you use it for? Describe in a short paragraph what is happening while the music is playing.
3. Draw or paint a picture while you’re listening to the piece. Try to express the colors and images you think about when you hear the melodies and harmonies of the piece.