Are you interested in learning “In the Hall of the Mountain King” on piano? Below is a link to free sheet music that you can download from the Hoffman Academy Store. Before you do, read on to learn more about the story of this interesting piece!
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Who wrote “In the Hall of the Mountain King?” When and Where?
Edvard Grieg was a Norwegian romantic-era composer known for combining the traditions of classical music with the traditions and folktales of Norway. One of these pieces that is particularly popular is “In the Hall of the Mountain King,” which was composed in 1875 as incidental music to a play by Henrik Ibsen named Peer Gynt. This play was based on a Norwegian fairy tale of the same name.
To learn more about the composer Edvard Grieg, check out this article on his life!
What is the story behind it?
To understand the story of this music, first we must start with the legend of Peer Gynt as it appears in Ibsen’s play:
Peer Gynt was a boy from a small Norwegian village who was known for being a troublemaker. He stole from people within the village and refused to help his friends and family members. His reputation made him very unpopular in his village.
One day, Peer visited a wedding where he met the most beautiful girl. Her name was Solveig. Peer dreamed of marrying Solveig, but because of his bad-boy reputation, both Peer’s and Solvieg’s families refused to let them see each other. Frustrated and disappointed by this, Peer decided to run away from his village and escape into the mountains.
After escaping deep into the mountains, Peer arrived near the hall of the Dovregubben, who was the king of the trolls. Suddenly surrounded by trolls and believed to be an intruder, Peer was taken as a prisoner. The trolls dragged the boy in front of the Dovregubben. After Peer told the trolls about his experience and asked to remain among them, the Dovregubben took pity upon the young man. Dovregubben decided that Peer could stay with the trolls and even marry his beautiful daughter Anitra…as long as he agreed to become a troll himself.
Uninterested in becoming a troll, Peer devised a plan to run away again. In the middle of the night, Peer filled his pockets with the trolls’ jewels and attempted to sneak out of the mountain hall. His escape was foiled when he was discovered by a troll guard. The trolls chased the boy through the halls and eventually captured him. After the jewels were discovered in his pockets, Peer was once more brought in front of the Dovregubben, where he was sentenced to be thrown in prison. Eventually, Peer agreed to stay among the trolls and marry Anitra according to the wishes of the Dovregubben.
Fun Listening Activities
- The fairytale-inspired music evokes the sound of subterranean trolls, gnomes, and goblins. I encourage you to listen to this piece and see if you can hear them!
- After listening to Grieg’s music to “In the Hall of the Mountain King” and reading the story of Peer Gynt, where do you think that the music fits best within the story? Is the music meant to be played when he first is brought in front of the Dovregubben or is it better placed during the chase scene?
Now that you know the background to this fun piece, you are ready to learn how to play the music! Below is a download to the sheet music and a lesson video that will lead you through the piece. Have fun and happy playing!
Level: Unit 3+
Printable sheet music for the Hoffman Academy Bonus Lesson Video “In the Hall of the Mountain King.” Watch the video to learn this exciting song!