Clair de Lune by Claude Debussy

January 21, 2011
Music is a powerful thing. It can stir up emotions, bring you back to a specific moment in time, or remind you of something going on in your life at the moment. Generally this is because of the lyrics, and the melody or the singer’s voice is just a nice addition. But I think music without lyrics can be just as powerful, sometimes even more so.

Classical music is pretty underrated among people my age. Actually, it’s pretty underrated in general. Usually unless a person plays an instrument, or was raised with classical music, they don’t know or care much about it. Many pieces of classical music provide such rich, beautiful pieces, that they should be counted as a work of art. In the simplest words, that’s what truly great classical music is: a work of art.

Clair de Lune is one of those pieces. It’s full of rich, complicated harmonies, with a simple, yet beautiful melody weaving it all together. I love Debussy in general; I think all of music is pretty brilliant, and it’s some of the better classical music out there. But Clair de Lune stands out for me, and I’m not alone in thinking this. It’s been thought of as an immortal piece among music for many, many years. And there’s a reason for that, it takes my breath away nearly every time I sit down and truly listen to it.

I’ve always thought Clair de Lune was a beautiful piece, ever since I heard it for the first time many years ago. But it wasn’t until I started to learn it that I realized just how amazing it is. The piece starts out simple, with the quiet chords seeming peaceful and restful. As the piece goes on, tension starts to build up, with the chords getting louder and louder, and the melody becoming more urgent, before backing away. It continues on, building up, and then backing away, until it comes to a final climax. The rest of the piece is the conclusion, and it’s just about the most beautiful thing I’ve ever heard. After the climax, it backs off slowly, until you reach the original melody, with a couple twists thrown in. From there until the end, the piece gets quieter, softer, before reaching the final arpeggio of the piece, leaving you feeling restful and relaxed.

On of the things that makes Clair de Lune such a powerful piece is the lack of words. Lyrics can evoke strong emotions, but they’re also very specific. Clair de Lune can be used much more freely, it can remind various people of very different things. Clair de Lune means ‘light of the moon’, and that seems like a very fitting title to me. It’s light and airy, yet mysterious, with darker, more complex chords moving underneath the basic melody. It can seem sad, yet also triumphant. It can be soothing and calming, but can also be turbulent and emotional.

Clair de Lune can be used in many different formats, and enjoyed in all of them. It can be played in a great concert hall, and seem like the most beautiful piece ever composed. It can be used as music to dance to; it can be put together with clips from a movie or TV show and tell a story through that. Or you can simply put on your headphones, sit back in your chair, crank up the volume and just listen. Whatever way you choose to enjoy it, Clair de Lune is a timeless piece that will be enjoyed for many generations to come.

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This article has 2 comments. Post your own now!

SarahUncharted said...
Mar. 18, 2011 at 6:13 am
i agree. in all aspects, the composition is just immaculate. it makes you feel. i also agree on the people not caring much about classical music in this day and time. i really wish they did. maybe people wouldnt be as tenxe, high strung and crazy as they are now.
StarryNight101 replied...
Mar. 20, 2011 at 8:39 pm
Thanks for commenting! :) I'm glad to find another classical music lover. I feel like most people, at least people my age, find it to be boring, but it's the complete opposite! Clair de Lune is one of my favorite classical pieces.
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