In The Hall of the Mountain King, by Edvard Grieg is a great piece written by one of a gifted, musical storyteller. It has an instantly recognizable melody. It was featured in one of our eMedia October Newsletters, as it’s a great piece to learn for Halloween.
It was written for the play Peer Gynt and occurs as the hero enters the hall of the Mountain King. The scene is introduced with: “There is a great crowd of troll courtiers, gnomes and goblins. The Old Man sits on his throne, with crown and sceptre, surrounded by his children and relatives. Scary stuff, indeed!
Learning How to Play In The Hall of the Mountain King on Piano
- There is a great piano score here, that even a beginner could play. Intermediate to advanced players can find the whole Peer Gynt, Suite I Op.46 score here. Mountain King can be found on page 12.
- Listen to this version by Denis Matsuev, which shows the range of dynamics possible with this piece.
- Watch these players to help understand more about how to play the piece. Beginners can watch a slowed-down version here, and a version with more in-depth analysis here.
If the parts seem difficult, concentrate on each hand separately. And remember that exercises in Intermediate Piano and Keyboard Method can really help you master hand independence and more complex parts.
Grieg began his career by performing as a pianist all over Europe, and wrote many great pieces for both orchestra and the piano. Every summer he went home to his cottage in Norway to compose, and many of his songs are written to sound like folk songs from his home country.
The Hall of the Mountain King runs slightly less than 3 minutes, and its “short and sweet” nature has made it a recognized part of pop culture. Versions of the theme have been remade by many artists, and have been used in films and TV shows. Here is a jazzy version by Cyrus Chestnut, a nice and spooky pipe organ version, plus a dubstep version by Bezzina and, of course there is a cartoon.
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