Halloween Whodunit

NSO Family Concert web extension


March of the Little Goblins
by Adam Glaser

On Halloween, all the ghosts and goblins come out to play and cause mischief. Here’s some music they can march to in their troublemaking parade.

Listen for the:

  • rough, rumbling tones played by the trumpets and trombones.
  • laughter-like sounds of the clarinet.
  • sounds of mischief from the percussion instruments like the cowbell, cymbals, ratchet, and slide whistle.

Symphony No. 2 in B major, Op. 14, “To October”
by Dmitri Shostakovich (duh-MEE-tree shaw-stah-KOH-vitch)

Revolution means sudden change—and change can be plenty scary. This music recalls Russia’s revolution of October 1917, a year of hope that came after a difficult and frightening time for people in Russia.

Listen for:

  • the dark and slow beginning that remembers the sad and tough lives of Russians.
  • how the music gradually speeds up and gets louder, giving the sense that something big (like a revolution!) is going to happen.

Back to the Future Main Theme
From the movie Back to the Future

by Alan Silvestri

Teenager Marty McFly travels back in time—wait a minute—how will he get back? This main theme music from the movie captures the fun and adventure of Marty’s wild ride.

Listen for:

  • the long vibrations and crashes of the cymbals.
  • the strong tones of the horns, trumpets, and trombones that give a sense of a big and bold adventure.
  • crescendos—gradual increases in the loudness of the music, which suggest zooming through time.

“For the First Time” and “Let It Go”
from the movie Frozen

by Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez, arranged by Bob Krogstad

Sometimes two people see the same thing very differently. In this music from the movie Frozen, Anna sees the palace ball as exciting while her sister Elsa, who has a secret, sees it as terrifying. And what happens when you decide not to let something haunt you anymore? You “let it go!”

Listen for:

  • the playful music that shares Anna’s excitement about the ball.
  • how the music slows and becomes quieter as Elsa worries.
  • which instruments play the melody (the part normally sung).


Editors & Producers

Lisa Resnick
Content Editor

Kenny Neal
Manager, Digital Education Resources

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