Listening Spree

You could, for example, spend the holidays listening to these masterpieces from the great composers.

Pay attention to what the lower notes do, pay attention to what the higher notes do.

Read the scores as you listen.

Listen in your car, or while you tidy up.

Or while you’re in the gym.

There are some very intense Classical Music Masterpieces that you’ve probably never heard.

Check these out. Make your own playlist, and enjoy your holidays to the fullest.




Listening examples: 

  1. Arabeske in C, Op. 18 by Robert Schumann
  2. Bolero by Maurice Ravel


A MInor

Listening examples:

  1. Etude ‘Winter Wind’Frederic Chopin
  2. Caprice no.5 by Niccolo Paganini



Listening examples:

  1. String Quartet in F…Opus 96 – “American”
  2. String Quartet No. 3 in F major, Op. 73 Movement 4 – Adagio, Dmitri Shostakovich
  3. String Quartet No. 3 in F major, Op. 73 Movement 1 – Allegretto, Dmitri Shostakovich
  4. String Quartet in F major Op 99. (Adagio Affettuoso) – Maurice Ravel
  5. “Autumn” The Four Seasons – Antonio Vivaldi


D minor

Listening examples:

  1. J. S. Bach‘s entire The Art of Fugue is in D minor.
  2. Mozart‘s chromatic fugue in D minor.[2][clarification needed Which K.
  3. Film composer Hans Zimmer is one of the most prominent users of the key of D minor in modern times. Many of his well-known scores were written in the key, notable examples including Gladiator, The Dark Knight, Pirates of the Caribbean, and The Da Vinci Code.


B flat

Listening examples

  1. Rondo in B-flat for Violin and Orchestra (Mozart)
  2. String Quartet No. 5 (Shostakovich)
  3. Symphony No. 5 (Prokofiev)


G minor

Listening examples

  1. The_Four_Seasons_(Vivaldi) Summer, RV315 – Antonio Vivaldi
  2. Symphony No. 40Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
  3. Ballade No. 1 in G minorFrédéric Chopin
  4. Symphony no. 7 in G Minor by Scarlatti
  5. Hungarian Dance No. 5Johannes Brahms
  6. Carol of the BellsMykola Leontovych
  7. Piano Concerto No.4 in G minorSergei Rachmaninoff
  8. Slavonic Dance No. 8 in G minor – Antonín Dvořák


E Flat

Listening examples

  1. Franz Schubert – Impromptu in Eb Op. 90 no.2 by Franz Schubert
  2. Concerto in Eb Major by Franz Liszt
  3. Overture to the Magic Flute – by Mozart
  4. Paganini’s 14th Caprice


C MInor

Listening examples

  1. Beethoven’s Symphony no. 5
  2. Cello Suite No. 5, BWV 1011 – Bach
  3. Étude Op. 10, No. 12 (Revolutionary) – Chopin
  4. Nocturne in C minor, Op. 48, No. 1 – Chopin
  5. Rondo Op. 1 – Chopin
  6. String quartet No. 8 – Shostakovich


A flat

Listening examples

  1. Frédéric Chopin – Impromptu No. 1 in A flat major, Op. 29
  2. Franz SchubertImpromptu op. 90 no.4 in A flat Major


F minor

Listening examples

  1. Symphony No. 1Dmitri Shostakovich
  2. Piano Sonata No. 23, Op. 57 (Appassionata) – Ludwig van Beethoven
  3. Ballade No. 4, Op. 52 – Frédéric Chopin


D Flat

Listening examples

  1. Sergei Rachmaninoff composed the famous 18th variation of his Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini in this key, perhaps emphasizing the generally held view that D-flat major is the most romantically flavoured of the major keys
  2. Charles-Marie Widor considered D-flat major to be the best key for flute music.
  3. Hector Berlioz called this key “majestic” in his 1856 Grand Traité d’Instrumentation et d’Orchestration modernes, while having a much different opinion of its enharmonic counterpart. D-flat major was used as the key for the slow movements of Joseph Haydn’s Piano Sonata Hob XI:46 in A-flat major, and Beethoven’s Apassionata sonata.


B flat minor

Listening examples

  1. Samuel Barber‘s Adagio for Strings
  2. Sergei Rachmaninoff‘s Piano Sonata No. 2[6]
  3. Dmitri Shostakovich‘s Symphony No. 13 and String Quartet No. 13
  4. Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky‘s Piano Concerto No. 1,[7] Sérénade mélancolique


F#/G Flat

Listening examples 

  1. Chopin‘s Barcarolle, Liszt‘s Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2, Mahler‘s unfinished Tenth Symphony,
  2. Erich Korngold‘s Symphony Op. 40, Scriabin‘s Fourth Sonata, The key was the favourite tonality of Olivier Messiaen, who used it repeatedly throughout his work to express his most exciting or transcendent moods, most notably in the Turangalîla Symphony.
  3. Shostakovich – String Quartet no. 14 in F# Major. Awesome. Beautiful.


E flat minor

Listening examples

  1. Book 1 of The Well-Tempered Clavier by Johann Sebastian Bach, Prelude No. 8
  2. Beethoven applied E-flat minor to the slow introduction in the sixth (last) movement of his Septet Op. 20.
  3. It is also the key in which Dmitri Shostakovich composed his final string quartet.
  4. Alexander Scriabin‘s Prelude No. 14 from his 24 Preludes, Op. 11, is in E-flat minor, as well as
  5. Johannes Brahms‘s only independent Scherzo, Op. 4.
  6. Sergei Rachmaninoff‘s Elegie, Op. 3, No. 1, is in E-flat minor, as is his
  7. Étude-Tableau, Op. 39, No. 5.
  8. Oskar Böhme‘s Trumpet Sextet, Op. 30 is written in E-flat minor.



Listening examples

  1. Verdi’s opera Rigoletto is in B major.


G# Minor

 Listening examples

  1. The Funeral March in Ludwig van Beethoven‘s Piano Sonata No. 12, Op. 26.
  2. The opening of Igor Stravinsky‘s The Firebird.
  3. In Gustav Mahler‘s Ninth Symphony, there is a particularly aggressive restatement of the introduction of the third movement in A-flat minor.[1]



Listening examples

  1. Chopin‘s first Piano Concerto starts in E minor, but the last two movements are in E major.
  2. More typically, however, some symphonies that begin in E minor switch to E major for the finale, such as Sergei Rachmaninoff‘s Symphony No. 2, Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky‘s Symphony No. 5
  3. and Dmitri Shostakovich‘s Symphony No. 10.


C# MInor

Listening examples

  1. Domenico Scarlatti wrote just two keyboard sonatas in C-sharp minor, K. 246 and K. 247.
  2. But after Beethoven‘s Piano Sonata No. 14 (Moonlight Sonata), the key became more frequent in the piano repertoire.
  3. Frédéric Chopin often wrote in this key: examples include the Fantaisie-Impromptu, Scherzo No. 3 (Op. 39), Waltz Op. 64, No. 2, and nocturnes No. 7 (Op. 27, No. 1) and No. 20 (Lento con gran espressione).  – For a piece with tons of EXPRESSIONISM in it. 



Listening examples

  1. The Festive Overture in A major, Op. 96 – the Great Shostakovich, Dmitri
  2. Frédéric Chopin’s Allegro de concert, Op. 46


F# minor

Listening examples

  1. Crazy Train by Ozzy Osbourne and Randy Rhoads
  2. Rachmaninoff‘s Piano Concerto No. 1, Scriabin’s Piano Concerto,
  3. Mozart‘s only composition in this key is the second movement to his Piano Concerto No. 23 in A major.[1]



Listening examples

many classical composers throughout the centuries have chosen to write violin concertos in D major, including those by Mozart (No. 2, 1775, No. 4, 1775);

Ludwig van Beethoven (1806); Paganini (No. 1, 1817); Brahms (1878); Tchaikovsky (1878); Prokofiev (No. 1, 1917); Stravinsky (1931); and Korngold (1945).


B minor

Listening examples

  1. Chopins Funeral March. Sonata in Bm.
  2. The Mass in B minor (BWV 232) by Johann Sebastian Bach



Listening examples

  1. Domenico Scarlatti has 555 keyboard sonatas, G major is the home key for 69 of them.
  2. In the music of Johann Sebastian Bach,his third and fourth Brandenburg Concertos.
  3. Goldberg Variations are 80 minutes in G major.[3]
  4. G major is the home key of Mozart’s Eine kleine Nachtmusik, serving as the tonic for three of its four movements (the exception being the second movement, titled Romanze and is in the subdominant key).


E minor

Listening examples

  1. Shostakovich Symphony no. 10 in E Minor
  2. Cello Sonata No. 1 – Johannes Brahms
  3. Nocturne in E minorFrédéric Chopin
  4. Waltz in E minor – Frédéric Chopin


I would love to hear your comments and suggestions for other pieces of classical music.

Listening to this music will expand your mind and will train your ears to listen to things you’ve probably never heard before.

It will definitely make you a better musician.