YourClassical Adventures

Keep the Beat

The conductor helps the entire orchestra maintain the same speed in a piece of music.Wan San Yip/Unsplash

YourClassical Adventures: Episode 85 - Keep the Beat


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A metronome is a musical device that produces a clicking sound to help you keep a certain tempo. You can snap your fingers or tap your foot to keep tempo, too. Join host Liz Lyon as we listen to classical music pieces with a wide range of tempos. One tempo is so slow that the piece of music lasts more than 600 years!

Episode 85 playlist

John Cage: Organ² (As Slow As Possible) — When this piece was written, composer John Cage did not specify a tempo. This offered a quirky opportunity to musicians: How can someone truly play this piece as slow as possible? Some musicians have spent 12 or more hours playing this piece, but in a church in Germany, a single chord of this piece is held for 2,527 days before it moves on to the next.

LISTEN — John Cage: Organ² (As Slow As Possible)

John Cage: Organ²

Arvo Part: Spiegel im Spiegel — If you hold a mirror facing forward and stand in front of a mirror, you will see that your reflected image is repeated over and over for infinity. The name of this piece is German and means, “Mirrors in the Mirror” which refers to an infinity mirror and the infinite number of reflected images.

LISTEN — Arvo Part: Spiegel im Spiegel

Arvo Part: Spiegel im Spiegel

Niccolo Paganini: Moto Perpetuo — A “virtuoso” is someone who is highly skilled in music or other creative art. Niccolo Paganini was the most celebrated violin virtuoso of his time. If you learn any violin techniques, you will likely be learning techniques he developed.

LISTEN — Niccolo Paganini: Moto Perpetuo

Niccolo Paganini: Moto Perpetuo

Camille Saint-Saëns: Samson and Delilah - Bacchanale — Camille Saint-Saëns was a French composer, organist, conductor and pianist. Before he was even 3, he was curious about the piano and had the ability to identify a musical note without assistance.

LISTEN — Camille Saint-Saëns: Samson and Delilah - Bacchanale

Camille Saint-Saëns: Samson and Delilah - Bacchanale

Johannes Brahms: Hungarian Dance No. 4 — This is only one of 21 total Hungarian Dances that Brahms composed, all inspired by Hungarian folk music and Hungary’s deep tradition of dance. They were originally written for piano and were later arranged by Brahms and other composers to allow a full orchestra to present these pieces.

LISTEN — Johannes Brahms: Hungarian Dance No. 4 

Johannes Brahms: Hungarian Dance No. 4

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