Halloween Spooktacular - The Sequel!

NSO Family Concert web extension


Toccata and Fugue in D minor
by Johann Sebastian Bach (YOH-hahn sah-BASS-chuhn Bahk)

Even though this music wasn’t written to frighten people, it appears often in scary movies and TV shows. Can you picture a scary ghoul hammering away on the organ’s keyboards?

Listen for the:

  • unique and strong sounds of the pipe organ, the only instrument for this music.
  • light, quick, notes that rise higher and fall lower.
  • long chords (many notes played together) held for a long time.
  • sudden and big changes in the speed (tempo) of the music.

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.

“Anitra’s Dance” from Peer Gynt Suite
by Edvard Grieg (greeg)

Young Peer Gynt pretends to be a prophet (a very wise man) in North Africa. When an Arab tribal leader believes his disguise and invites him to watch some dancing, Peer starts to fall in love with the dancer Anitra.

Listen for the:

  • tingling tone accented by the triangle at the beginning and end.
  • light, playful melody played by the string instruments and the triangle.
  • pizzicato—when a musician plucks the strings on a string instrument.

“Nimbus 2000” from the movie Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
by John Williams

Hop on Harry’s magical broomstick in this music written for the first movie based on the book series.

Listen for the:

  • sounds of the broomstick climbing higher and higher.
  • swirling and fluttering sounds (flutes).

“The Batman Theme” and “Finale” from the movie Batman
by Danny Elfman

When scary things happen, it’s good to have a superhero like Batman around. In this music from the movie Batman, imagine how he always saves the day.

Listen for the:

  • quiet and peaceful start that suddenly grows forceful and fast.
  • soaring sounds (strings).
  • heroic triumphant ending with strong brass sounds.

The Barber of Seville
by Gioachino Rossini (roh-SEE-nee)

Halloween isn’t just about being scared—it’s also about disguises (costumes) and fooling people. In the opera The Barber of Seville, a young man pretends to be different people to try to win the love of a young woman. Now what could possibly go wrong?

Listen for:

  • the parts of the music that sound playful or funny.
  • how the music helps you imagine all the disguises and misunderstandings that take place.


Editors & Producers

Lisa Resnick
Content Editor

Kenny Neal
Manager, Digital Education Resources

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