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Classical Music Quiz Trivia

For the classical music lovers, this quiz tests your theory and your knowledge of classical music. Have you got what it takes? 30 Questions.

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In western music notation, triplets and duplets can be marked to define a change in rhythm. Which statement below is true?

  • you will never find a triplet in 4/4 time
  • you will commonly find duplets in 4/4 time
  • triplets are only used in compound time signatures
  • duplets are only used in compound time signatures


Musical scales in western culture derive from modes passed down from the ancient Greeks. examples include the Lydian, Locrian, Dorian and Phrygian modes. Put them into order from brightest to darkest.

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  • Phrygian
  • Lydian
  • Dorian
  • Locrian


A typical symphonic orchestra in the 18th century did not include which instrument?

  • Bassoon
  • Timpani
  • Trombone
  • Double Bass


Mozart had a relatively short lifespan in comparison to many other composers in his day. At what age did he die?

  • 35 years
  • 22 years
  • 16 years
  • 43 years


Johann Sebastian Bach had 10 children, of which 3 became renowned composers. Put them into order of birth (born earliest - born latest)

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  • Johann Christian Bach
  • Wilhelm Friedemann Bach
  • Johann Sebastian Bach
  • Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach


What era of classical music was prominent between the years 1600-1750? (one word answer)

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The basso continuo is an evident part of music in the Baroque era. It is comprised (generally) on what instruments?

  • A keyboard instrument (e.g. harpsichord/organ)
  • A cello and/or a keyboard instrument (e.g. harpsichord/organ)
  • A flute and a trumpet
  • A flute and a keyboard instrument (e.g. harpsichord/organ)


Describe a key difference between a clavichord and a harpsichord.

  • A clavichord has plucked strings, a harpsichord has struck strings.
  • A harpsichord is the earlier version of the piano - the clavichord is an earlier form of the guitar.
  • A clavichord is bigger than a harpsichord.
  • A harpsichord is played by hand, whereas the clavichord is not.


Musical notation uses different clefs according to different instruments for convenience. Match the instruments with their (generally/typically used) correct clefs.

Drag items from right column to match with left column


  • Viola
  • Bassoon
  • Piano
  • Flute


  • Alto Clef
  • Bass Clef
  • Treble Clef
  • Treble and Bass Clefs


Both 3/3 and 6/8 have the same number of quavers in each bar - 6. Correctly describe the difference between these two time signatures.

  • The quavers are beamed differently.
  • They have a differing number of crotchets.
  • There is no difference.
  • They feel like they are a different tempo.


String Quartets have always been a popular aspect of classical music. Which instruments do they typically entail?

  • Three violins and a cello
  • A double bass, one violin, one viola and one cello
  • A piano, two violins and a viola
  • A cello, two violins and a viola


The Timpani is a tuned percussion instrument. True or false?

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Which composer wrote the first oratorio in western history?

  • George Frideric Handel
  • Joseph Haydn
  • Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach
  • Ludwig Van Beethoven


One full bar in 4/4 time is exactly equivalent to...

  • Half a bar in 6/8 time
  • A quarter of a bar in 12/4 time
  • A full bar in 4/8 time
  • A full bar in 8/8 time


What is the relative major of A minor?

  • C major
  • Bb major
  • F minor
  • D# Major


What is a whole tone scale?

  • A minor scale that starts on E.
  • A scale which consistently has intervals of a whole tone between each note.
  • A scale that uses no sharps or flats, thus making it completely whole.
  • A scale which is comprised of semi tones, and when put together, make whole tones.


Put the following note names in order from the longest to the shortest.

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  • Minim
  • Quaver
  • Breve
  • Hemidemisemiquaver


The mediant and submediant are two scale values for a typical scale. describe why the mediant is the 3rd note, and the submediant is the 6th.

  • The mediant means middle, and it is the middle note between the dominant and the tonic.
  • The mediant is a direct reflection of the subdominant.
  • The mediant is 3 notes up from the tonic. In the same way, the submediant is 3 notes below the tonic.
  • In ancient music history, the submediant was thought of as being a close neighbour of the mediant, due to their harmonic similarities.


During the romantic era, instruments were made in bigger sizes to produce a greater sound for the growing demand of music. Which statement below is false?

  • Brass instruments had newly invented piston-valves.
  • Keys were added to woodwind instruments
  • Steel strings helped string instruments to play much louder.
  • Pianos were made with wood rather than iron.


What is a sousaphone?

  • A string instrument that was invented in the medieval times.
  • A notation marking.
  • A brass instrument with its bell facing the audience.
  • An inverted trumpet.


Which of these famous composers at one point taught Ludwig Van Beethoven?

  • G.B. Sammartini
  • Joseph Haydn
  • Johann Christian Bach
  • Muzio Clementi


Who is known to have invented opera?

  • Jacopo Peri
  • Francesco Cavalli
  • Henri Dumont
  • Claudio Monteverdi


Claude Debussy was a composer. What kind of music did he compose, and when?

  • Classical music, 19th/20th century.
  • Classical music, 19th century
  • Romantic music, 19th century.
  • Atonal music, 19th/20th century.


A drum kit can be tuned. True or False?

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J.S Bach wasn't very well known during his life time. True or False?

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There are three main strands of the minor scale; the melodic, harmonic and natural minors. What is the difference between them?

  • Melodic = sharpened 7th, flattened 6th. harmonic scale = same, but when descending 6th and 7th are flattened. Natural minor has a major 3rd.
  • Natural minor = its relative major. Melodic and harmonic scales are equal, but melodic scale has flattened 6th and 7th when descending.
  • Melodic scale = sharpened 7th.Descending, 7th and 6th are flattened. harmonic scale = flattened 6th, sharpened 7th. natural minor = relative major
  • They are all the same.


Sort the following voices in order from highest pitched to lowest pitched:

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  • Baritone
  • Tenor
  • Sorpano
  • Alto


In notation, the composer cannot change the time signature throughout the piece. True or False?

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Classical music is still being composed today. True or False?

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The violin and viola are similar in size and shape. What are some key differences?

  • The violin is smaller and uses a different clef.
  • The viola is smaller and uses a different clef.
  • There is no difference - only their cultural references.
  • The violin is a newer invention, and thus has greater popularity and acoustic quality.