How to play 'Clair de lune' by Claude Debussy on the piano

06 October 2022
By Ellie Palmer
Multi award-winning pianist Jean-Efflam Bavouzet gives a phrase-by-phrase lesson on this famous piece

'Clair de lune' is just one of those extra-special piano pieces that we all want to learn how to play. Its stunning, lilting melody is one that sticks in the brain as soon as you hear it.

It's an intermediate/advanced-level piece and has its fair share of challenges. And whilst the piece as a whole may be out of reach for the beginner, the famous opening melody is certainly accessible to any level of pianist.

Celebrated French pianist, Jean-Efflam Bavouzet, breaks this piece down phrase-by-phrase in his video lesson, revealing the work's hidden meaning and provides practical advice for navigating its textures and moods.

Bavouzet pulls apart the work's many challenges, both technical and musical. From fingering and mechanics to analysing layers and harmonies, his lesson proves that, in his words, "the more you know about the music, the more you find it extraordinary.”

Enjoy his full, 35-minute lesson on the piece below.

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Bavouzet appeared on the cover of Pianist 101. Get your copy here.