Category: Listening

Listening for Shape in Classical Music

Listening for Shape in Classical Music

LISTENING FOR SHAPE IN CLASSICAL MUSIC: One way to listen to classical music is listening for shape.  All pieces of music have a shape, and this shape informs the listening experience.  We sometimes use the word “shape” when describing the form of a piece, but at the most elemental level, shape is merely the rise […]

Listening for Texture in Classical Music

Listening for Texture in Classical Music

LISTENING FOR TEXTURE IN CLASSICAL MUSIC: We can learn to be better performers or composers or even become better informed audiences by learning to listen for texture in classical music. Many of us learned the basic descriptions of musical texture, using their textbook definitions: monophony, homophony, and polyphony. We may have even learned a fourth […]

Carnival of the Animals – Something for Everyone!

Carnival of the Animals – Something for Everyone!

CARNIVAL OF THE ANIMALS – SOMETHING FOR EVERYONE! What’s your fancy in classical music?   Humorous, tongue-in-cheek parodies?  Lush orchestration?  Fabulous writing for piano?  Gorgeous cello melodies?  Music that appeals to musicians of all ages?   French composer Saint-Saens’s “Carnival of the Animals” has all these elements and more.  In fact, this wonderful piece has something for […]

Listening is essential to classical music studies

Listening is essential to classical music studies

LISTENING IS ESSENTIAL TO CLASSICAL MUSIC STUDIES: “A thousand suns, all rising”.  My new just-turned-five year old student spoke these words in a matter of fact voice as if we all should understand her meaning.  I looked at her mom and dad and saw they were as puzzled as I was.  It took a few […]

Peter and the Wolf – An Introduction to the Orchestra

Peter and the Wolf – An Introduction to the Orchestra

PETER AND THE WOLF   Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf  never fails to delight us!   This introduction to the orchestra was originally intended for children, but everyone is entranced by his beloved masterpiece. We may be five years old, acting out each character and giggling through growls.  Perhaps we’re ten and just beginning to compose […]

The clarinet – a star of many musical genres

The clarinet – a star of many musical genres

The clarinet – a star of many musical genres Let’s take a look at an instrument that is at once hot, cool, sleek, sassy, sophisticated.   It’s a master of classical music, and a star of jazz.  It’s at home with swing, the blues, or the symphony orchestra.   It has three distinct registers, each of which […]

Petrouchka Chord – Discussion Questions

Petrouchka Chord – Discussion Questions

Petrouchka Chord – Discussion Questions   Today we are going to learn about the “Petrouchka Chord”, created by the great Russian composer Igor Stravinsky. First, listen to Petrouchka and read about this wonderful ballet:Petrouchka – Igor Stravinsky Now, let’s look at one of the most important themes of this piece of music: The above arpeggiated […]

Petrouchka – Igor Stravinsky

Petrouchka – Igor Stravinsky

Petrouchka – Igor Stravinsky Welcome to the Fair! The Russian Shrovetide fair called Maslenitsa, that is. Our featured listening piece today is Stravinsky’s delightful ballet, Petrouchka. Listeners of all ages and levels of musical experience love the little hero who is, after all, only a puppet of straw and sawdust. And yet … but we […]

Listening Practice

Listening Practice

Creative Listening Practice Creative listening is a learned skill, and should be practiced in the same way musicians practice an instrument. In this article we will listen to one piece and learn some of the questions we might ask to deepen our creative listening skills. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xQmqHof6iZg Listen to the piece the first time without knowing […]

The Many Colors of Sofia Gubaidulina

The Many Colors of Sofia Gubaidulina

The Many Colors of Sofia Gubaidulina Sofia Gubaidulina (pronounced so-FEE-uh  goo-bye-DOO-lee-nuh) is a contemporary Russian composer who creates a world of swirling colors that excites our imaginations and inspires our creativity. This magical world of shimmering sound is full of the unexpected.  In this first piece, violins and flutes and marimbas create a winding path […]

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