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“Clair de Lune” Easy Sheet Music & Piano Tutorial

Lisa Witt  /  Classical Songs / Oct 8

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“Clair de Lune” is an iconic piece for the piano. It’s beautiful, recognizable, and oh so peaceful. The original sheet music for “Clair de Lune” by Claude Debussy isn’t easy, so we’ve created an easier version that anyone, even beginners, can share in the joy of this amazing piece.

Watch our video tutorial for a step-by-step guide on how to play “Clair de Lune” and keep reading for some tips and tricks.

DOWNLOAD THE SHEET MUSIC

Tip #1: Ties 🪢

Watch out for the very many ties in this piece! Ties simply mean notes “tied together” are held for the full duration of all notes tied. There are lots of moments in this song where you hold onto notes and “save them for later.”

Beginning of easy sheet music for Clair de Lune with ties marked up with red arrows.
🔥🎹 HOT TIP! If you’re new to reading music, check out our most popular lesson ever: How to Read Notes.

Tip #2: Clefs 🎼

Also watch out for changing clefs throughout the sheet music! For example, in the beginning, we use a treble clef for both the right and left hand. The piece starts off pretty high, so it’s much easier to read everything in treble clef.

Easy sheet music for Clair de. Lune with clef change in measure 13 highlighted in red.

However, we switch back to bass clef in measure 13. Things switch back to treble clef in the last two measures! 

Tip #3: Pedaling

You’ll notice some pedal markings in this piece. They look like this:

Easy sheet music for Clair de Lune with pedal markings highlighted with red arrows and where they start and end.

The pedal is what creates that cloudy, dreamy sound that “Claire de Lune” is famous for.

There aren’t pedals everywhere, though, because the ties sort of imitate what the pedal does by holding those chords. However, I personally pedal throughout the song 🤭! I just think it sounds extra pretty 💖

You can learn more about pedaling techniques over here.

📜🎹 HISTORY BITE! “Clair de Lune” is the third of a suite of piano pieces (Suite Bergamasque). Although “Clair de Lune” is famous for being an “Impressionist” piece, Debussy disliked the impressionist label. He was actually inspired by 17th and 18th century Baroque French music.

Tip #4: Dynamics and Expression 🎭

Pieces like “Clair de Lune” are allllll about emotional expression!

So don’t be afraid to let your dramatic side fly! There are dynamic markings to help you along, and if you’re new to musical terms, here’s what they mean:

Piano symbol - p in red stylized font.

Piano

Play softly.

Forte symbol: f in red stylized font.

Forte

Play loudly.

Ritardando symbol ("rit.") in italicized font.

Ritardando

Gradually slow down.

"a tempo" in red italicized font.

A Tempo

Play at the original tempo.

Crescendo symbol (less than symbol opened towards the right) in red.
Decrescendo symbol (greater than symbol opened towards the left) in red.

Crescendo and Decrescendo

Gradually play louder (right; crescendo) or gradually play softer (left; decrescendo).

At the end of the day, play this piece in a way that feels right for YOU! If you want to pedal a lot, great. If you prefer not to pedal, that’s okay too.

We want you to have fun with this iconic piece in whichever way suits you!

Learn More Easy Classical Pieces 🎻

Classical music sounds stunning on the piano, but if you’re intimidated by unabridged versions of your favorite classical pieces, don’t worry! We have LOTS of easy sheet music for pieces beyond “Clair de Lune.” Check out some of our other lessons:

Happy practicing!


Lisa Witt has been teaching piano for 19 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.

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