First Look: Prelude & a Snow Piece

1) S. Rachmaninoff, Prelude in G minor, Op. 23 no. 5

This piece is part of a set of 24 preludes in all 12 minor and major keys.  The piece begins in the style of a march with a lovely lyrical middle section, then ending with the march again.  I've included 2 versions: one with music and one with a live performer.


  • What is the time signature of the piece?
  • Which do you prefer more: the beginning/ending section (fast march) or the middle section (slow, lyrical, romantic)?  Why?


2) C. Debussy, The Snow is Dancing, from Children's Corner Suite

The title of this piece is describes itself!  This is common in the Impressionistic period, where composers often aim to create imagery with their music.  2 versions are included: one with the music, and the other with snow pictures for your enjoyment!


  • How is the imagery of falling snow shown in the piece?  How does the composer use the music to create a falling snow effect?
  • Create your own musical idea(s) for falling snow on the piano.  How would you play gently falling snow?  How would you show a blizzard of snow?

This listening activity is brought to you courtesy of Carlo Santos