Discover: Listen and Learn

Listening Adventures

Go on an adventure! Music can take you to wonderful places, whether you're traveling to a concert, going to a museum, or just sitting in your room. Music can paint colorful pictures in your mind - of a beautiful lake, a bubbling fountain, a big city.....the possibilities are endless! By learning to hear what music is telling you, you can close your eyes and go anywhere in the world!


Compare and contrast the styles of these two French composers

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Jeaux d'eau

by Maurice Ravel

This piece is about fountains and water play. Listen for dancing waters and water drops sparkling in the sun

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Gymnopédie No. 1

by Erik Satie

This lovely, calm and serene piece is very different from Ravel's fountain. What do you hear? What does it make you think of?


Compare and contrast these two beautiful romantic and impressionistic pieces.

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The Maiden & the Nightingale

by Enrique Granados

This is a romantic era piece inspired by paintings by Goya. Listen to the beautiful, flowing melodies and see if you can hear the Nightingale singing at the end (trills in RH).

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The Fountain of Acqua Paola

by Charles Griffes

This piece was written by an American impressionist composer after he had visited this fountain in Rome. Listen to the joyous way in which he describes the water.


Compare and contrast these two jazz-influenced pieces.

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Three Preludes for Piano

by George Gershwin

Gershwin was an American composer who was inspired by jazz in his music. These 3 short pieces have jazzy elements in them - the second is a bluesy lullaby. Three very colorful pieces!

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Etude Op. 40, No. 7

by Nikolai Kapustin

Nikolai Kapustin is a living Russian composer who is also influenced heavily by jazz in his music. Compare this Etude with the Gershwin Preludes. Listen to how each composer has his own unique style.


Compare and contrast these two Baroque composers.

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Sonata K. 427

by Domenico Scarlatti

Scarlatti was a Baroque composer who lived in the 1700's and composed music for keyboard around the time the piano was invented. His music was influenced by Spanish guitar. Listen for fast and repetitive notes that mimic the guitar.

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Prelude BWV 846

by Johann Sebastien Bach

J.S. Bach is probably the most famous Baroque composer of all time. He worked as a church musician much of his life. This lovely Prelude is one of his most beautiful and famous works. You may want to play it one day!


Compare and contrast these two charming pieces that depict characters and tell stories.

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Pantalon Op. 25, No. 3

by Amy Beach

Amy Beach was an American composer who lived 1867-1944. This piece is from a collection of six easy pieces for children and depicts a clown trying to walk with his silly long pants!

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Empress of the Pagodas
(Mother Goose Suite #3)

by Maurice Ravel

Here is another piece by Ravel. This is a piano duet played by two people. Watch how the video uses the music to tell the story of the Empress.


Compare and contrast these two beautiful piano pieces that are arranged for other instruments.

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The Swan

by Camille Saint-Saëns

Camille Saint-Saëns was a French composer who lived during the romantic era. This is one of his most famous piano pieces, and it is even more beautiful played by the cello, don't you think?

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Morning Mood
(Peer Gynt Suite)

by Edvard Grieg

Grieg is another romantic-era composer. "Morning Mood" is an incredibly beautiful piece. As you listen, think of the majesty of a sunrise, and see if you can hear the sun coming up!


Listen to and compare these two famous piano works about the moon.

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Moonlight Sonata Op. 27, No. 2

by Ludwig van Beethoven

Beethoven was one of the most famous composers of all time. Listen to the first movement of his Moonlight Sonata. It was compared to the moon rising over Lake Lucerne. What do you hear?

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Clair de lune

by Claude Debussy

Debussy was an impressionistic composer like Ravel. This song is also about the moon. Listen to the lovely, flowing harmonies and think about how this style differs from the Beethoven.


Compare these two pieces in contrasting styles.

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(The Nutcracker Suite)

by Pyotr Ilych Tchaikovsky

Tchaikovsky was a Russian composer and pianist who wrote the famous Nutcracker Ballet. Here is the famous March from the suite. Listen to how the orchestra depicts the marching soldiers.

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(The Nutcracker Suite)

arr. by Duke Ellington

Duke Ellington was a famous American jazz pianist, composer and bandleader. He arranged Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker Suite in jazz style! Listen to how his version differs from the original. Which do you like better?