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#2268024 - 04/27/14 11:51 PM Debussy - Clair De Lune (Looking for tips, not very good)
n34 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 04/27/14
Posts: 4
https://soundcloud.com/user558170798/clair-de-lune

Hi guys. Some background info first, I guess (You can skip this paragraph if you don't care, lol). I'm 18 now, and I've played piano for roughly 7 years. Two months ago I came back to the piano after almost a 3 year break. At around 15, I basically begged my parents to let me stop playing as I wasn't enjoying it (especially the annual recitals), and I never practiced. They let me, but two months ago, I seriously started to miss it.

Since I came back to the piano two months ago, I started learning this piece. Before that, the most difficult piece I played was Moonlight Sonata, albeit poorly. So this was definitely a challenge. I just finished learning it two days ago, so I hope I can improve, because it doesn't sound that great now. The more I listen to the recording, the more I hate it lol.

Anyways, thanks for listening, and any feedback/criticism/tips are appreciated.


Edited by n34 (04/27/14 11:55 PM)

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#2268851 - 04/29/14 08:58 PM Re: Debussy - Clair De Lune (Looking for tips, not very good) [Re: n34]
n34 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 04/27/14
Posts: 4
Can't edit the thread for some reason, but here is a second try at it (I think I did a bit better, and there is no smoke detector beeping in the background):

https://soundcloud.com/user558170798/debussy-clair-de-lune-2nd-try

and a third try:

https://soundcloud.com/user558170798/debussy-clair-de-lune-3rd-try


Edited by n34 (04/29/14 09:00 PM)

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#2268920 - 04/29/14 11:18 PM Re: Debussy - Clair De Lune (Looking for tips, not very good) [Re: n34]
noobpianist90 Online   content
Full Member

Registered: 07/23/13
Posts: 351
Loc: India
It was good, certain parts of it were very enjoyable.
I like it played a certain way though, so I'll tell you my observations, but you don't need to take these to mean that you need to do it. I'm just telling you how I would improve upon it. I'm referring to your third try.

Measures 15-24 (1 minute 13 seconds). You need to sustain the bass notes through the measure and let it fade away gradually.

Measure 25 and 26 (1 minute 53 seconds), you need to roll the chords. You seem to be playing one note, and then rolling the rest of the chords. Try for a smooth roll.

I think after that, I think you know by listening to it where it isn't smooth, for example, the arpeggio sequence is a little shaky, there is a little accenting occasionally and unevenness in volume ,so it'll take a bit of practice.

You should listen to your recording again and see if you agree with my comments. Don't take what I say without verifying and agreeing with it.

This is a good attempt, but I think you can improve it a lot more. Also, I like the tone and chorus of your piano, sounds really nice. I'll look forward to another recording after some more practice smile

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#2268971 - 04/30/14 03:56 AM Re: Debussy - Clair De Lune (Looking for tips, not very good) [Re: noobpianist90]
n34 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 04/27/14
Posts: 4
Thank you very much for your input. I really appreciate it.

For measures 15-24, are you talking about sustaining the the initial low bass notes? I use the same pedal for both measures 15 & 16, the same pedal for both 17 and 18, and one pedal at the start of each consecutive measure after that. Is there a way I can sustain the initial base notes for longer?

And then for the measures 25 and 26, where you said I was playing the first note, and then rolling it: I think I rolled them properly on my first try, which you can listen to in the top post, but I think I saw some youtube guy play it like I did in my third try and thought that was the right way. I do like it the way you describe though and not the way I played it in my third try, so I'll try to roll it all together. Just found the guy I was talking about: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nn0a9E8fAco&feature=youtu.be&t=1m58s

I don't want to sound like I feel sorry for myself, but I feel like I haven't improved over the last 15 or so hours of practice on the arpeggio parts. The first measure I learned for this piece, before anything else, was measure 27 and I feel like I should be good at that part by now. But I'm listening to it, and it really doesn't sound that good. I feel like measures 27-46 is worst section. Measures 47-58 didn't sound good in the recording, but I have played those sections better before. Getting back to 27-46, I've tried playing the measures I'm especially bad at really slowly, dozens of times. Trying to perfect the rhythm and volume. But some notes still feel extremely out of place when comparing it to someone who can play it very well. It sounds choppy and kind of chaotic, almost like I'm playing each note individually, not like a flowing river. Do you have any specific tips on how I can improve on measures 27-46?

Again, thanks for the feedback. Although I am still having trouble, you gave me a confidence boost by simply telling me it was good. Thank you. My piano is a Nordheimer upright, by the way, and we've had it for many years. It's very nice.

(PS, I hope I'm telling you the correct measures. I got them off of this site, and I don't usually speak in measures, although I should: http://www.musanim.com/pdf/debussyclairdelune.pdf)

(PPS, just checked out your youtube channel and I really like your Nocturne Op.9 No.2. It sounds very nice. I've always wanted to play that piece. Would you say it is more difficult than Clair de Lune? I was thinking of learning that next (or Arabesque No.1 by Debussy, but that truly sounds too hard for me, especially since arpeggios seem to be my weakness, and that whole piece is made of arpeggios, lol).)


Edited by n34 (04/30/14 04:03 AM)

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#2268990 - 04/30/14 06:39 AM Re: Debussy - Clair De Lune (Looking for tips, not very good) [Re: n34]
noobpianist90 Online   content
Full Member

Registered: 07/23/13
Posts: 351
Loc: India
Originally Posted By: n34
For measures 15-24, are you talking about sustaining the the initial low bass notes? I use the same pedal for both measures 15 & 16, the same pedal for both 17 and 18, and one pedal at the start of each consecutive measure after that. Is there a way I can sustain the initial base notes for longer?
Yes I'm talking about the initial bass notes. I don't think you can sustain it any longer than that. Maybe it's the limitation of your recording equipment. From what I listened, the bass notes seem to fade too quickly. It sounds really nice when it is sustained longer.
Originally Posted By: n34
I saw some youtube guy play it like I did in my third try and thought that was the right way.
If you like it better this way, then you can go ahead and play it, but I feel it sounds better when rolled smoothly.
Originally Posted By: n34
I don't want to sound like I feel sorry for myself, but I feel like I haven't improved over the last 15 or so hours of practice on the arpeggio parts.
Practicing efficiently, correctly and accurately for even 5 minutes is better than inefficient practice for hours. My focus deteriorate beyond 20 minutes. I suggest practicing in bursts. Practice it for 5 minutes, then move on to something else. Then come back to it. And so on. You shouldn't have to be able to practice for long hours before you can play it. It should be such that you sit down at the piano and you can play it flawlessly. Aim for that.
Originally Posted By: n34
Do you have any specific tips on how I can improve on measures 27-46?
I don't have the score with me at the moment, so I'll check and get back you you by PM.
Originally Posted By: n34
(PPS, just checked out your youtube channel and I really like your Nocturne Op.9 No.2. It sounds very nice. I've always wanted to play that piece. Would you say it is more difficult than Clair de Lune?
I'm glad you found it enjoyable. It depends on your technique, what you're comfortable with. I found the nocturne easier than Clair de Lune. The major challenge I found in the nocturne is keeping tempo, which I have not been successful at (if you listen carefully to my youtube recording, you'll see my timing going haywire). I would say go for it if you like listening to it.

Similar to you, I took a break of 4 years and got back to the piano last year. I used to be able to play parts of Clair de Lune. I'm more interested in learning the Prelude of Suite Bergamasque than Clair de Lune. Also, la fille aux cheveux de lin. I'll start with these once I finish what I'm learning now.

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#2269150 - 04/30/14 03:55 PM Re: Debussy - Clair De Lune (Looking for tips, not very good) [Re: noobpianist90]
n34 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 04/27/14
Posts: 4
Okay, great. Thanks for your response, it means a lot. I'll definitely use your idea of practicing in bursts. You don't have to go in great detail about specific tips, I understand it's a lot to ask for.


Edited by n34 (04/30/14 03:56 PM)

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#2269299 - 04/30/14 09:35 PM Re: Debussy - Clair De Lune (Looking for tips, not very good) [Re: n34]
noobpianist90 Online   content
Full Member

Registered: 07/23/13
Posts: 351
Loc: India
There is a series called Clair de Lune from scratch started by Hugh Sung. Measures 27 onwards is here.

Also, I would suggest going through this to improve your practice routine.

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