Edvard Grieg was a Scandinavian composer with great influence. Most famously, the work Grieg did for playwright Henrik Ibsen stood out by far. “Hall of the Mountain King,” is part of a suite of music selected for Ibsen’s play, “Peer Gynt.” While Grieg found the collaborative process to be frustrating and restrictive, the music that resulted has become some of the most widely known and interpreted compositions today. This unmistakable melody has been featured in tv shows, movies and albums from rock to jazz.
Originally composed in the key of B minor, “Hall of the Mountain King” has been arranged in the key of A minor to fit the 20 bells range. It features a descending melodic motif that is stated with variation in the tonic of Am as well as in the dominant, E. It utilizes the harmonic minor version of the minor scale which incorporates a raised 7th degree, in this case G#, in both the melody and the harmony. Players who are savvy with spelling their triads may notice that while the harmony stays pretty static, the melody seems to imply chords that aren’t actually there! If it’s cool enough for the Trolls, it’s cool enough for us!