Category: Classical Music

List of important listening pieces from early ages on up

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! 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 […]

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 for […]

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

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 chord is the “Petrouchka chord”. […]

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. Listen to the piece the first time without knowing anything about it.  You can listen any way […]

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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