Reflecting here on this piece of music and thinking what could be a perfect introduction for that? I end up taking the caption that I wrote on my Instagram account.
“Le Moulin" A blowing wind that took me to places I never heard of, never felt. It's a new adventure, HOME, a new me. It's the beginning of the infinite, the beginning of the unconditional. It is where time stops, where the sky opens, where green is the color. How wonderful it is to hear you saying you should fly! Crazy, you have to be! It is a miracle, but until then, Fly Fly Fly....”
So is it really the music? Or is it just me? Le Moulin known as the Mill in English is a building equipped with machinery for grinding grain into flour. The mill can’t function without a blowing wind. That wind is energy, that spin is what is keeping us moving forward despite all odds. It is what made Jeunet and Guillaume Laurant write the story of the famous movie Le Fabuleux Destin d'Amélie Poulain. A 2001 romantic comedy film directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet. That wind inspired Yann Tiersen to compose one of the famous soundtracks of mankind. Le Moulin is one of the twenty tracks made for this unforgettable film. That energy made thousands of musicians playing Yann’s music and keeping it alive till nowadays. That energy that got me the intuition to make a tutorial for this music, to write this article, and that has made you land on this page. I am being spiritual as every time I play this music I can’t hear anything other than a voice that is out of this world, so simple so deep. “Le Moulin” falls under the minimalism form of art music as it contains limited or minimal musical elements.
What can we learn from “Le Moulin”?
Being composed in the key of B flat minor which is not easy geography to many and in ¾ time signature, we have a lot to talk about. The repetitive pattern of the left-hand part builds the feeling of dancing “Waltz” a well-known style of composition for Frederic Chopin and many more. Yes as the wind blows in the Mill all the dances start! My soul was dancing, my inner voice wrote those words on insta!!! *A quick hint for beginner pianists not to fall into the trap of playing the notes of the three pulses in the left-hand part as short, short, long but actually maintain rhythm as short, short, short and practice consistency.
During my 15 years of teaching piano for all grade levels, I always end up in the same realization when it comes to simple melodies, it is the same sentence that I say to my students; “phrase it out”. Yes, simple melodies are made to be distinguished from anything else in the composition. You just need to phrase it out. The melody in “Le Moulin” requires a lot of applying tone color, intention, and proper energy add it to. Phrasing in music is one of the skills that a lot of musicians are missing out in their playing although it is so essential in showing musicality and approach to expressions.
This piece of music is in the form of ABAB. The key to making such a form alive is dynamics. Having the ability to interpret the segments in different dynamic stages and building contrast is something to consider as students and teachers as well. Not to forget transitioning from mezzo forte or forte to mezzo piano or piano by applying crescendo and decrescendo. It is what makes these segments blowing in the audience's mind and feelings. It is that spin into our body mill.
I hope I was able to give you some key concepts on how we can benefit from this piece of music: Key and time signature, rhythm, consistency, phrasing out, tone color, form, dynamics, and definitely energy.