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Why is Debussy’s Clair de lune the most downloaded piece?

A challenge for both the intermediate pianist and the professional, Debussy’s Clair de lune seems to contain specific qualities which both instrumentalists and listeners find attractive. The piece, which is a part of the composer’s Suite Bergamasque, is the most downloaded piano score in Piano Street’s sheet music library. Due to its popularity it appears in many re-arranged versions for different instruments and in music genres such as jazz and world music.

Did Debussy manage to strike a line between the abstract impressionistic scenery and the beautiful melodic lines of romanticism? Does the open harmonic landscape appear attractive to everyone regardless of musical background? What do you think?
Please post your comment below!

Here we can hear a lovely rendition by the Macedonian pianist Simon Trpceski:

“Beauty must appeal to the senses, must provide us with immediate enjoyment, must impress us or insinuate itself into us without any effort on our part.”– Claude Debussy

Forum discussions about Clair de lune:
Debussy – Clair de Lune
Debussy – Clair de Lune
Fingering for arpeggios in Clair de Lune
Debussy Clair De Lune, (technical
Trouble with Claire de Lune
Debussy’s Clair De Lune: How do I count the third bar?
Debussy – Clair De Lune
Clair de lune questions
Clair De Lune
Fingering for Claire De Lune


/nilsjohan

  1. Heidi Lee Says:

    Ah, Claire de Lune…one of my favorites to play and also to teach my students and to listen to it being played by the professional performers I work with in preparation for their concerts/performances. It is one of those pieces that can pierce to the very soul of both pianist and audience member when played with just the right touch of the keys. It also holds special fond memories for me because it was on of my (late) mother’s favorite pieces by Debussy. Not surprised in the least that it is the most sought after and popular download!

    Let’s just say that in over 20 years as a piano teacher and classical pianist/vocalist and more than a decade of coaching performance clients, I haven’t come across a single musician specializing in any genre who hasn’t loved this piece. It is a remarkable talent to be able to bring so many genre enthusiasts together in a single piece of music, regardless of their personal genre preference or background.

  2. Waltraud Legros Says:

    I never had been able to play Clair de Lune entirely – but I heaur it very often : it makes me “see” impressionnistic peinture like Monet or Renoir … I feel romantic musik more narrative than visual – but that’s only my personnal feeling.
    Thank you for sharing this very soft and “pointilliste” interpretation !

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