Music Trivia Questions and Answers
Music Trivia Questions Part 1
1. The Metropolitan Opera is located in what North American city?
Answer: New York.
Academically known as Metropolitan Opera. Located in New York City. US. Founded in 1883 by a group of wealthy men to provide refined musical entertainment for the public. Its first season opened on 22 October 1883 with a performance of Faust at the Academy of Music (now known as the Metropolitan Opera House). The company is owned by its members who, under a charter from the State of New York, elect officers and board members. It operates as an unincorporated association.
2. Which instrument is a pocket-sized reed-organ invented by Charles Wheatstone in 1829?
Charles Wheatstone (1802-1875), the English physicist and inventor, was born at Bridge Street, Gloucester, on November 12, 1802. While still a young man he contributed to the “Mechanics’ Magazine” an article on a proposed new method of weighing ships.
In 1823 Wheatstone invented the concertina and in that same year he became professor of experimental philosophy at King’s College, London. In 1829 he patented a telegraph and established telegraphic communication between Euston Square Station and Camden Town; and two years later established a line between Liverpool and Manchester.
Wheatstone was knighted in 1838. From 1849 to 1864 he occupied the throne of knowledge. He invented the stereoscope, an instrument for producing beautiful pictures by combining two photographs of the same object taken with different perspective settings. He was elected FRS in 1832.
Charles Wheatstone invented Harmonica (or the musical glasses) in 1815. He demonstrated it before The Royal Society. This instrument consists of a set of goblets filled with water and capable of being tuned so as to give harmonious notes when sounded by an appropriate mechanism.
This instrument doubtless led him to think about the possibility of electric telegraphy, the idea having occurred to him years earlier when he was engaged in concertina manufacture. By way of electrical telegraphy, Wheatstone has further claim to fame for his introduction into Great Britain of the use of the galvanometer as a standard of measurement in its place were used Dr. Boord’s fountain electrometer with which was associated some uncertainty and inconvenience.
A harmonica is made up of two parts namely, the reed and the body both of which are made of metal. The reed is flat and it’s held between lips while the body serves as a resonator and also acts as vacuum that pulls in air from beneath it. A harmonica has ten holes on its top which are known as “slots” that are covered by metal strips forming what is known as “guards”. These guards can be moved sideways causing different notes to be played depending upon their vertical positioning.
3. On which instrument was Franz Liszt an inspired performer?
Franz Liszt was a virtuoso pianist and composer who was one of the most famous musicians of the 19th century. He composed many piano compositions and was an influential teacher of other composers and musicians. His music is characterized by rich harmonies and melodies. As a pianist he revolutionized the way pianos were played. Many consider him to be the greatest composer of piano music ever.
4. Which teacher of Mozart and Beethoven wrote more than 100 symphonies?
Answer: Franz Joseph Haydn.
Johannes (Joseph) Haydn 1732-1809 Austrian composer and conductor, called “The father of the symphony.” He was one of the most prolific and prominent composers of the classical era. His works include 102 symphonies; 53 string quartets; 52 piano sonatas; 31 operas; and numerous vocal pieces.
5. Whose one and only opera was a tale of love and tragedy set in New Orleans?
Answer: George Gershwin.
Gershwin was born Jacob Gershowitz in Brooklyn, New York. He began his professional training at 13 when he became a member of the chorus of the popular musical comedy, “Floradora.” When his family moved to Europe in 1908-9, he studied with prominent teachers, including the pianist Ferruccio Busoni. In 1918 Gershwin briefly attended Columbia University in New York, where he became friendly with a young Irving Berlin and attended some classes in harmony taught by the brilliant teacher Vladimir Sokoloff. In 1919 Gershwin began working as a pianist and composer for Broadway shows.
6. Who wrote the Moonlight and Appassionata among his 32 piano sonatas?
Beethoven’s compositions, Moonlight Sonata and Appassionata are both very different and yet extremely similar. Although written during two different periods, the pieces share many common characteristics. One of these similarities is the overall mood of the pieces. The first movement of Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata is in a minor key. Some general characteristics of this mood are sadness, melancholy, soft and slow in pace. While Beethoven’s Appassionata is in a major key because it has more an upbeat feeling to it.
7. What is the title of Beethoven’s only opera?
Answer: Fidelio oder Die Eheliche Liebe.
The only opera ever written by Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827), Fidelio was first performed in Berlin at the Kärnthnerthor Theatre on November 20, 1805. This was not very long after the composer had arrived in Vienna from his native Bonn, where he had been court organist since 1792. It was also only a year or two after he had begun to lose his hearing and a decade following his first successes as a composer of such brilliant piano works as the First Concerto and Opus 10, both published in 1797. In addition to these strengths, Beethoven brought to Fidelio an experience of Italian opera that was unusually rich and varied.
8. Which composer captured the furious beating of the bumblebee’s wings in one of his most famous short pieces?
Answer: Nicolai Rimsky-Korsakov.
Nicolai Rimsky-Korsakov (1844-1908) was a Russian composer and conductor famed for his orchestral works, which include Scheherazade and the Russian Easter Festival Overture.
Rimsky-Korsakov, the son of a naval officer and grandson of an operatic bass, showed early musical promise. His grandfather taught him piano and violin. At age nine Rimsky-Korsakov became the pupil of Mily Balakirev, a composer, folklorist and pianist who was one of the founders of 19th century Russian nationalist music. Balakirev encouraged his pupil to write music based on themes from Russian folklore.
9. Which US gospel singer, famed for her version of “Move On Up”, was invited to sing at the presidential inauguration of John F. Kennedy?
Answer: Mahalia Jackson.
Mahalia Jackson is not one of the best-known jazz singers, but she was one of the most powerful. She sang with a strong, clear voice, and her songs were usually simple, direct statements.
Born in 1911 in New Orleans, Jackson moved with her family to Chicago when she was four years old. She began singing at the age of six in her father’s church and at other local churches. By the time she was 14 she had joined Mahalia Jackson’s Spiritual Singers (she preferred this spelling), a gospel group that also featured two of her brothers.
Jackson’s first hit, “Move On Up a Little Higher”, was recorded in 1944 by Decca Records, an independent company. Her first pop hit, “I’ll Get By” (1946), was also recorded by Decca before she signed with Columbia. She continued to record gospel music and became very popular in the black community. Her warm style of singing helped make her one of the most highly paid performers for concerts at colleges and universities during the 1950s and 1960s.
In 1961 Kennedy invited Jackson to sing at his presidential inauguration, the first time an African American had been asked to perform at such a public ceremony. In 1963 the Kennedys made plans for a White House event in honor of her 50th birthday. Jackson was also invited to perform at the president’s funeral in November 1963, but she was unable to attend because she had obligations elsewhere.
Jackson died in 1972 at the age of 60. She was buried in Chicago’s Woodlawn Cemetery, and has become one of the most respected figures in gospel music.
10. Who developed the 12-tone system of composition?
Answer: Arnold Schoenberg.
Arnold Schoenberg’s name has come to be associated with a systematic procedure for composition in which all 12 notes of the chromatic scale are sounded over the course of a work. This procedure, known as dodecaphony (from Greek dodeka, meaning “twelve”), was first outlined by Schoenberg in his 1921 masterwork, Harmonielehre ( Theory of Harmony ). Heavily indebted to the theories of his teacher, Anton Webern, Schoenberg was nonetheless able to develop his system into a strikingly original approach to musical composition.
Schoenberg’s early works do not feature dodecaphonic procedures; these were first heard in Erwartung , Opus 17 (1909). Later, Schoenberg realized that his compositional method could be referred to as “twelve-tone”, and he referred to it as such in Harmonielehre. However, Schoenberg should not be thought of as a strict formalist; rather, he used the twelve-tone system as a point of departure for his own brand of atonal composition.
The history of Schoenberg’s style is extremely complex and often misunderstood. The reception of his music by the public and the critics has been almost entirely negative throughout the course of his career. His influence on later classical composers, however (who tend to deny that they were influenced by him), has been enormous.
Music Trivia Questions Part 2
11. To which family of instruments does the double bass belong?
A viol is a stringed instrument that has a neck and a deep round back, very similar to the violin. The difference between it and the violin is the thicker body of the viol and its deeper bass tone. Like most string instruments, it has frets to set the correct intonation of pitches.
12. Which jazzman said, “There are only two kinds of music: good and bad”?
Answer: Duke Ellington.
Duke Ellington (Edward Kennedy “Duke” Ellington, 1899-1974) was an American composer, pianist, and bandleader of jazz orchestras. He was one of the most influential composers in the development of jazz and 20th-century music. His career spanned over fifty years, from his 1920s piano compositions to his death at age 75.
Early Life: Duke Ellington was born on April 29, 1899 in Washington DC. His given name was Edward Kennedy Ellington. When he was 7 or 8 years old his parents placed him under the care of an older cousin Alice Carter who encouraged and supported his musical interests. She bought him a violin, and when he was 11 or 12 years old he also began studying the piano. He received his education at Armstrong Manual Training High School in Washington, DC.
Music Career: In order to pursue his musical interests Duke Ellington dropped out of high school in 1914 and formed a band with his friends from school. The group mainly performed at private parties and at nightclubs where they were paid $1 or 2 dollars each night, but despite the low pay they had fun performing for their fellow students. The band called itself the Duke’s Serenaders after Duke Ellington’s middle name.
13. Which bandleader disappeared on a flight from England to France In 1944?
Answer: Glenn Miller.
Glenn Miller, an American bandleader who popularized big band music in the 1930s and ’40s and whose “In the Mood” was a swing-era classic, disappeared on a flight from England to France in 1944. His fate remains unresolved more than 60 years later. Here is a look at Miller and his legacy as the mystery of what happened to him unfolds.
WHERE: England to France.
WHEN: Dec. 15, 1944. Miller’s plane took off from an airfield in Bedfordshire, northwest of London, and disappeared over the English Channel. The B-24 Liberator was headed for Paris with a crew of 10 plus five band members, including Miller.
WHO: Canadian actor William John Arthur “Jack” Kehoe was the lead investigator for the British government’s Missing Research and Enquiry Service, a unit that investigated missing persons during World War II. Kehoe interviewed dozens of witnesses and passed along information to U.S. Army Air Forces investigators.
WHAT: Miller, born near Clarinda, Iowa, in 1904, was a big band leader with the U.S. Army Air Forces’ 9th Air Force Band during World War II. His ‘GIs-at-Home’ radio broadcasts from Britain were heard by millions of Americans during the war. Among his recordings is “String of Pearls,” which is still popular today and was featured in the movie “Saving Private Ryan.”
14. Which record producer created the “wall of sound” for the Crystals and the Ronettes?
Answer: Phil Spector.
Phil, who has been called the architect of the 1960s girl-group sound, is one of rock’s most revered and controversial figures. His “Wall Of Sound”, a colossal sound created with layers upon layers of instruments and voices was an orchestral sound like no other. It became the producers signature and many groups built their songs around it including The Beatles, Beach Boys, Righteous Bros and more. It was Phil who gave us The Ronettes with their classic Be My Baby in ’63. He produced all their hits including I Can Hear Music in ’69 by the Beach Boys.
15. What was Louis Armstrong’s nickname?
Famed musician Louis Armstrong was born in New Orleans, Louisiana on August 4, 1901.
From early childhood he showed a talent for music. He received his first cornet when he was nine years old and began touring with the Fletcher Henderson Orchestra at the age of nineteen. During his forty-five year career he was a member of many bandleaders’ groups and traveled all over the world performing and entertaining audiences with his special style of jazz music.
Armstrong’s influence upon American culture cannot be overstated; he is known by many as “the father of jazz.” As a trumpet player, Armstrong virtually single-handedly brought classical European technique to jazz.
16. Who is the connection between the Boomtown Rats and Band Aid?
Answer: Bob Geldof.
Robert Frederick Zenon Geldof, KBE (5 October 1951 – 13 January 2005), more commonly known as Bob Geldof, was an Irish singer, songwriter, author, politician and activist. He rose to prominence in the early 1980s as the lead singer of the Irish rock band The Boomtown Rats. The band had hits with his compositions “Rat Trap” and “I Don’t Like Mondays”.
After The Boomtown Rats dissolved in 1986 he was a founding member of The Cult and shortly thereafter became a television presenter. In the mid-1980s Geldof became an activist and organised concerts during his Band Aid project that raised money for famine relief in Ethiopia.
17. Who was the “Forces’ Sweetheart” of World War II?
Answer: Vera Lynn.
Vera Lynn is one of the most famous singers of World War II and the composer of the first No. 1 record of the rock ‘n’ roll era. However, her career has been overshadowed by that of her husband, George, who never allowed her to sign a recording contract but who insisted on handling her career. When he died in 1984 she was obliged to take control for the first time and to reveal how she had allowed herself to be dominated by him for more than 50 years.
She was born Vera Margaret Welch near East Ham in Essex, England on 20 March 1917.
It was while working as a pharmacy assistant that Vera became interested in singing, joined a local dance band, and changed her name to Vera Lynn. A pretty girl with an attractive figure she was soon popular with the bandsmen as well as the crowds who welcomed her to venues in England and France. She also made many records for the Decca label. In April 1940 she was top of the bill at the London Palladium, but within months she had become a Forces’ Sweetheart and continued to entertain British troops throughout World War II. She traveled extensively throughout Europe before returning to Britain where she continued to work throughout the war, broadcasting on radio and appearing at shows organized by ENSA, the Entertainments National Service Association.
18. Who collaborated with Elvis Costello on his recording of “Back on my Feet”, and with Michael Jackson on “Say, Say, Say”?
Answer: Paul McCartney.
Paul McCartney was born on June 18, 1942 in Liverpool, England. His parents were Jim and Mary McCartney. His first musical instrument was a trumpet that his father had bought him for $8 at a flea market. He formed his first band when he was fifteen named The Quarrymen with his schoolmates John Lennon and George Harrison.
‘Beatle McCartney’s Number One Hits’ is the first solo album of Paul McCartney. It was recorded when the Beatles broke up. It was released in June of 1970; a few months after John Lennon’s ‘Plastic Ono Band’ and the same month as George Harrison’s All Things Must Pass’. In America, it would become the biggest selling album of 1971.
The single “Another Day” from this album made it to number one on the U.K Singles Chart and number 10 in America. The follow-up single from this album was “Oh Woman, Oh Why”, which just missed hitting number one in Britain, but got to number three in America.
19. What is the specialist instrument of Wynton Marsalis, the jazz musician?
Wynton Marsalis, 59, is the trumpeter who has made jazz respectable in the ’90s. He has also earned approval from critics, peers and pop fans alike.
Born in New Orleans on October 18, 1961, Marsalis spent much of his childhood in Baton Rouge, LA; he started playing trumpet at age seven and performed with his father’s group at 12. When his father moved to New York City to immerse himself in the jazz scene there, Wynton followed and enrolled at New York’s High School of Performing Arts.
20. Who wrote the atmospheric scores for such films as A Fistful of Dollars and The Good, the Bad and the Ugly?
Answer: Ennio Morricone.
Ennio Morricone was born on November 10th, 1928 in Rome, Italy. His father was a railway worker. Ennio started playing the piano at age six and wrote his first composition when he was 11. At 15, he entered the National Conservatory of Santa Cecilia to study composition, piano and trumpet. He graduated in trumpet when he was 19 years old then started working as a professional trumpet player for the RAI (Italian radio and television) from 1948 to 1956. In 1956, he won an Italian film prize for an arrangement of a Bach fugue that had been used in a score by Mario Nascimbene for the film Umberto D by Vittorio De Sica. While working as a film composer, he also wrote some pieces for the Spanish guitarist Segovia. In 1960, he began to compose his first music for films. His first score was for the film La Grande Guerra by Enrico Fulchignoni. His “Dies Irae” was used in a score by Francesco De Masi and even adapted in an arrangement by Segovia himself. The American composer Jerry Goldsmith, who won a “Best Instrumental Composition” Oscar for Patton (1970), observed that using Morricone’s “Dies Irae” in this way was probably unoriginal, but it did not detract from the effectiveness of its use or his enjoyment of hearing it.