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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.

Which other of our Ten Pieces was written in the same year, and also has a deliberate air of the supernatural about it?
Beethoven's Fifth Symphony
Mussorgsky's Night on the Bare Mountain
Handel's Zadok the Priest
Britten's 'Storm' Interlude
Yes, in 1867. None of the other composers listed in this question was alive at that time!
In contrast to the Mussorgsky piece, what is the basic overall musical 'shape' of this one by Grieg?
It starts fast and loud, and gradually grows slower and softer
It starts slow and loud, and gradually grows faster but softer
It starts fast and soft, and gradually grows slower and louder
It starts slow and soft, and gradually grows quicker and louder
The Mussorgsky piece, in essence, works the other way round.
Which woodwind instrument first plays the theme of ... the Mountain King?
The flute
The saxophone
The bassoon
The clarinet
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.
Which of these Italian musical directions does NOT apply most of the way through the piece?
Poco a poco accelerando
Poco a poco crescendo
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.
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?
A major key
A minor key
Whole-tone scales
Pentatonic scales
The home key happens in fact to be B minor.
Towards 2 minutes into the piece, which percussion instrument plays repeatedly on the off-beat (to ratchet-up the overall tension further)?
The triangle
The cymbals
The gong
The tambourine
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.
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!
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?
Henrik Ibsen
Nils Gade
Ole Bull
Hugo Alfven
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!
Which instrument creates the dramatic rumbling sound just before the final huge chord?
The bass drum
The kettledrum
The gong
The double-basses
One percussionist has this dramatic final solo!
... And which instrument/s started the whole huge piece off? (You may need to listen very carefully)
The violas
The horns
The harp
The drums
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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