Dissonant Symphony

Music to Make You Moody

As a part of Classical Conversations, we study great composers and orchestral music for 6 weeks. As a classical music junkie, this is one of my favorite parts of the program. I think an appreciation of great scores and understanding the intricacies of classical music is sadly lacking in our society. There is such a wide range of styles in classical music – thousands upon thousands of fantastic melodies, harmonies and rhythms – if you give it a chance, I’m positive you’ll find something you love.

This year, we looked at the transition from Romantic classical music to Modern classical music. The styles change so dramatically during this period, it’s astonishing. We started with Tchaikovsky’s 6th Symphony, his Pathetique. Quite possibly one of the most hauntingly sorrowful, lonely pieces I’ve ever heard. It is full of the dark emotions of the Romantic period. Longing, depression, exhaustion and ultimately surrender. As the 4th Movement draws its last dying breath, I am left feeling hollow, listless and emptied of emotion. Every. Single. Time.


In preparation for our week studying this heartbreaking music, I listened to the piece at least three dozen times. It never ceased to bring tears to my eyes. The overwhelming crescendo of emotion in Tchaikovsky’s work is remarkable. His ability to lay his heart bare within a simple 4-note theme is just beyond brilliant. And so very sad.

My poor husband. I was super moody while preparing for this lesson. Below are links to a listening map, drawing page and a brief bio and introduction of the music. Tchaikovsky’s life was not exactly G rated, but since my lessons are intended to introduce even the youngest kids to great music, this bio is quite tame.

Print Tchaikovsky Symphony 6 Listening Map and Drawing Page

Print Brief Bio and Introduction to 6th Symphony

Since this is one of the required pieces for CC Cycle 3, I pulled a whole lot of information from Classical Music For Dummies. It’s a fantastic (and simple) resource if you feel inadequate to start on a musical appreciation journey without some help. It even comes with a CD of tracks to get you started listening!

I love sharing my creations with you, and hope get great use out of them. If you’d like to re-share them, please do so with a link to this page, not a direct link to the listening map/drawing pages. Happy Listening!