Amélie Soundtrack Tutorial – “Comptine d’un autre été: L’Après-Midi”

Lisa Witt  /  Film Scores  /  UPDATED Jan 12, 2023

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The Amélie soundtrack is a beautiful, magical piece for piano. And learning it will delight your audience!

This is a gorgeous piece in E Minor, which means you only have one F-sharp to worry about. Yay!

And while the theme may sound complex, broken down, it’s only a handful of chord shapes and right-hand patterns. It all sounds very nice and very impressive, however, so we think beginner-intermediate players will get a lot out of this too.

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There appears to be a lot going on in the left hand here. But essentially, it’s a chord progression played in an Alberti-bass pattern.

This pattern stays in your left hand throughout the entire piece, so practice it well!

💡🎹 DID YOU KNOW? The Alberti Bass is a repetitive accompaniment pattern that drives a piece forward, usually in the left hand. It was named after Domenico Alberti, who loved using it, but it was also used widely by Haydn, Mozart, Clementi, and other Classical-era composers.

Main Theme

Now let’s add some right hand!

The right hand melody is playful and charming. We suggest practicing your right hand by itself first. Find a fingering that works for you. Here’s what I used in the video:

After your right hand gets familiar with this melody, it’s time to sync it up with your left-hand Alberti bass!

One thing that can help is drawing lines on the sheet music where notes match, like the example above.

Another thing that can help is counting out loud. You can learn how to break down complicated rhythms here.

OR…if this all feels too confusing than it’s worth, use your ear! Listen to the soundtrack and just play what you hear.

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The transition section is soooo dreamy. The rhythm can be tricky here, so breaking it down when counting can make it make more sense.

Remember to hold those ties for their full duration!

This section is immediately followed by a similar section…but harmonized! It sounds so pretty. You can use any fingering you like for those sixths, such as going from 1-5 to 1-5 or even 1-5 to 1-3.

Fancy Section

This section sounds complex, but it’s a similar chord shape throughout and the sixteenth notes fit evenly into the left-hand eighth notes.

These shapes can feel awkward, especially if you’re new to piano. If you’re struggling, check your posture, relax your hands, and here’s a tip: rotate your wrist with the notes. Let your entire wrist move you in the right direction.

Practice slowly. You won’t sound fancy right away and that’s okay!

After this section, you’ll go back to playing the main theme of the song but one octave higher. 

…And you’ve basically learned the entire song!

Playing the Piece

This is a very emotive song and there are several ways to make it more expressive once you’ve mastered the basics:

  1. Dynamics. The original song has its own dynamics, but you can add your own too! Feel out what seems natural to you.
  2. Narrative. As you play the song, think of a story that goes with it. For example, the little melodic fragments make me think of a fluttering butterfly!
  3. Rubato. Rubato means “robbed time.” It’s a technique where you speed up and slow down in various places to add more emphasis and emotion.

What other expressive ways can you perform the song? Get creative and come up with your own interpretation!

Lisa Witt has been teaching piano for more than 20 years and in that time has helped hundreds of students learn to play the songs they love. Lisa received classical piano training through the Royal Conservatory of Music, but she has since embraced popular music and playing by ear in order to accompany herself and others. Learn more about Lisa.

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