Popular Music Lesson

In the Hall of the Mountain King

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Hello and welcome back.
I'm Joseph Hoffman. Today we're going to
be learning a piece of music called, "In
the Hall of the Mountain King." This music
was composed over a hundred years ago by
a Norwegian composer named Edvard
Grieg. Grieg was asked to compose this as
incidental music for a famous Norwegian
play called Peer Gynt. Incidental music
simply means music that is meant to be heard
while you watch a play or movie. In the
part of the play where you hear this
music, Peer Gynt, the main character of
the story, dreams of traveling into a
majestic cave inside a mountain where he
discovers a kingdom of goblins, gnomes, and trolls,
and there he meets the Troll King.
Let's take a look at the score for, "In
the Hall of the Mountain King." Here we
have the sheet music for the main theme
of "In the Hall of the Mountain King."
Let's check it out. We have a key
signature here telling us we're going to
have a B flat,
also we have our time signature, four four,
telling us there will be four beats per measure.
Now if you scan you'll see ,wow, we have a
lot of rests here in the treble clef
staff, so our right hand will be just
hanging out until we get over here. Our
left hand is going to be taking care of
most of the action.
Now let's try speaking the rhythm
together of this melody. Whenever you
have eighth notes, like these four notes,
these two notes, we'll say ti ti, and if you
have a quarter note we'll say tah.
Let's try saying the rhythm together,
ready, go.
Ti ti ti ti ti ti tah, ti ti tah, ti ti tah, ti ti ti ti ti ti, now pause here, we've got a ti,
you see if we have this flag that makes
it an eighth note, and then the melody
passes up to the right hand. We have
another eighth note.
So this is ti ti. It's the same rhythm as
this, ti ti, it is just split into two parts. So
we have two eighth notes, ti ti ti ti ti ti tu-u.
Here we have a half note so we'll say tu-u,
to remember that it's two beats long.
Good, now let's go back and try this part
one more time.
Ready, go, ti ti ti ti ti ti ti ti ti ti ti ti tu-u. All right, now let's check out how the notes are moving.
Can you say for me if the notes are
stepping, skipping, or repeating?
Let's try it together. We'll say start for
the first note.
Try it with me. Start, step up, step up,
step up, step up, skip down, skip up.
Now you try it by yourself, ready, go.
Now before we try to play that on the
you probably have noticed all these
little black dots over the note heads,
also under the note heads. A black dot
over or under a note head means to play
it staccato. Staccato sounds like this. It means to play the note with a quick release.
The opposite of staccato would be legato,
played like this.
That doesn't create nearly the
mysterious feel we need, which is why
Edvard Grieg uses staccato in this piece.
Now let's try to play this first measure
on the piano.
If you look at the score you'll see the
first note is D played with finger five
of the left hand, so we'll place the
left-hand finger five on this D below
middle C, which is right here on my piano.
Go ahead and place your left hand in
position on your piano.
I'll take a turn first and then you take
a turn. Let's just play the first five
notes with a good staccato sound.
Now your turn.
Good. Remember, to get a good staccato
sound you want to lift from the wrist
but keep the fingers on the keys, like
Now you try.
Now, after you step up those five notes,
then it skips down to F and then
skips back to A, so let's add those two
more notes.
My turn. Your turn.
Next measure, after we have bum bum bum,
now we have a step down and a sharp, so
we were on A, we're going to step down to
G sharp, skip down to E, then back to G
sharp, so we have G sharp, E, G sharp, and
then we have another G, but this time we
have a natural sign, so that tells us
will have G natural, E flat, G natural.
Let's see what that looks like on the
piano. Now for measure two, since it says
we need a G sharp we're going to take
our finger two and move it to G sharp. It
was on a G, now we move it to G sharp, so
we play G sharp, E, G sharp. Will you
practice that once? So we'll have a black key here, G sharp, finger four on E, G sharp, E, G sharp.
Your turn. Good, now
finger two has to move to G natural and
finger four has to move to E flat.
So notice we had a black and white key,
now we have a white and a black key, so
we have G sharp, E, G sharp, move your