KS2 Music Quiz
Ten Pieces - In the Hall of the Mountain King
What do you know about In The Hall Of The Mountain King by Grieg?

Ten Pieces - In the Hall of the Mountain King

To complement the BBC Ten Pieces, we have a KS2 Music quiz all about Grieg’s In The Hall Of The Mountain King which is an ear-catching orchestral classic.

The piece was written for a scene in the play Peer Gynt. Its Norwegian title is Dovregubbens hall. In the play, Dovregubben is a troll king that Peer Gynt invents in a fantasy, so its English translation is not quite literal!

It has been used extensively in music, television, film and even video games, including the theme music in adverts for Alton Towers.

See how much do you know about In The Hall Of The Mountain King and its context.

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  1. Which other of our Ten Pieces was written in the same year, and also has a deliberate air of the supernatural about it?
    Yes, in 1867. None of the other composers listed in this question was alive at that time!
  2. In contrast to the Mussorgsky piece, what is the basic overall musical 'shape' of this one by Grieg?
    The Mussorgsky piece, in essence, works the other way round.
  3. Which woodwind instrument first plays the theme of ... the Mountain King?
    All the instruments early in the piece are ones that play at low pitch ~ so that as the piece progresses, others added higher up create more tension and excitement.
  4. Which of these Italian musical directions does NOT apply most of the way through the piece?
    Fortissimo = 'very loud', which obviously isn't true until towards the end. The other answers in turn are that the notes should be played in a detached, brittle manner (not really particularly 'tunefully'); that the music gradually speeds up, and also gradually gains in volume.
  5. One of the main ways to establish 'mood' in such a piece is by the composer's technical choice of key and mode. Which of these is the appropriate label for this present work?
    The home key happens in fact to be B minor.
  6. Towards 2 minutes into the piece, which percussion instrument plays repeatedly on the off-beat (to ratchet-up the overall tension further)?
    The distinctive metallic clash of the cymbals is ear-catching enough at the best of times, but coming insistently (as here) it adds un-ignorably to the overall effect of rising excitement.
  7. This piece is conceived as a grotesque version of which more 'normal' form of music?
    The opening playing instructions begin 'Alla marcia'. The waltz and minuet are each 3-in-a-bar, which this piece clearly isn't!
  8. Grieg wrote the piece as part of a suite of 'incidental music' (like a forerunner of the film-score, or the integral accompaniment to a Broadway-style stage musical) for a play by Norway's greatest playwright, who was ~ and remains ~ well respected in his own right, and was a great friend and encourager of the composer (then in his mid-20s). Who was the dramatist?
    The others here were all names of other Scandinavian musicians and/or composers. Ibsen's play was called Peer Gynt (Peer = 'Peter' in Norwegian), and the Mountain King piece accompanies what is more or less a nightmare sequence ... this detail may come as little surprise!
  9. Which instrument creates the dramatic rumbling sound just before the final huge chord?
    One percussionist has this dramatic final solo!
  10. ... And which instrument/s started the whole huge piece off? (You may need to listen very carefully)
    There is a quiet but distinct 'entry' from the horns, with a pause-mark on it too, before the seemingly unstoppable build-up begins. Happy listening ... don't have nightmares!

Author: Ian Miles

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