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Quiz about Music About Music
Quiz about Music About Music

Music About Music Trivia Quiz


Searching for inspiration for a song, many musicians have turned to what they know best: music! Test your knowledge of songs with a musical theme.

A multiple-choice quiz by CellarDoor. Estimated time: 5 mins.
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Author
CellarDoor
Time
5 mins
Type
Multiple Choice
Quiz #
285,296
Updated
Jul 20 22
# Qns
10
Difficulty
Average
Avg Score
6 / 10
Plays
1364
Awards
Top 5% quiz!
Last 3 plays: Hayes1953 (7/10), Guest 175 (8/10), Guest 66 (7/10).
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Question 1 of 10
1. In 1984, Leonard Cohen sang of a musician who played a "secret chord" -- which he then proceeded to explain, naming its parts as he played them. "It goes like this: the fourth, the fifth, the minor fall, the major lift." What had "the baffled king" composed? Hint


Question 2 of 10
2. The lead singer of "With a Little Help from My Friends" seems a bit nervous about his role. "What would you do if I sang out of tune?" he asks. "Would you stand up and walk out on me?" Which Beatle sings so plaintively of this fate? Hint


Question 3 of 10
3. What happens to "our song" when a relationship goes sour? In her 1970 hit "Don't Play That Song," Aretha Franklin explored what happens to the music afterward. Why does she say she doesn't want to hear the song? Hint


Question 4 of 10
4. Musicians looking for a hook have often used music as a metaphor. Hence we have the Hillside Singers proclaiming that they'd "like to teach the world to sing in perfect harmony." That 1971 single -- "I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing" -- did not arise purely out of musical altruism, however. In fact, the song began as an advertising jingle for what organization? Hint


Question 5 of 10
5. "When you read, you begin with A-B-C. When you sing, you begin with do-re-mi." Since the 1959 debut of the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical "The Sound of Music," students have sung to "Do-Re-Mi" as they learned the notes that define the Western musical scale. Which of these is the practice of singing a particular syllable for each note of the scale? Hint


Question 6 of 10
6. If you hear what I hear when listening to Christmas carols, it seems hard to escape music about music! Christmastime is signaled by the ringing of bells; everyone harks to the herald angels' singing; and even mountainsides are heard to echo these refrains. In "The Little Drummer Boy," the narrator describes how he plays a piece as a gift to the Christ child. What sound does his drum make? Hint


Question 7 of 10
7. Prince Tamino, protagonist of the 1791 opera "The Magic Flute" ("Die Zauberflöte"), relies on his faithful woodwind instrument to help him defeat various enemies and win the heart of the beautiful Princess Pamina. Its rich tone is much remarked upon -- when he plays, "even wild animals feel joy." From what material is this marvelous flute made? Hint


Question 8 of 10
8. In 1979, the Charlie Daniels Band had their greatest hit with the song "The Devil Went Down to Georgia." They sing of music as being about more than life and death: a fiddle contest is a battle for nothing less than the immortal soul of a young man named Johnny. How does the song describe the Devil's preparation for his solo? Hint


Question 9 of 10
9. Sometimes, musicians use their music to share their theories about its origins. In a 1972 song by Argent, remade by KISS in 1991, we hear that "if you wanna be a singer or play guitar, man, you gotta sweat or you won't get far." But how do they tell us we got rock and roll in the first place? Hint


Question 10 of 10
10. To go by song titles, music can be a surprisingly violent art. In 1973, Roberta Flack had a hit with "Killing Me Softly with His Song"; luckily, the title seems to have been metaphorical. Who was the deadly songster who inspired this song, a man who himself sang of when "the music died"? Hint



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Most Recent Scores
May 31 2024 : Hayes1953: 7/10
May 26 2024 : Guest 175: 8/10
May 23 2024 : Guest 66: 7/10
May 19 2024 : debray2001: 6/10
May 19 2024 : HumblePie7: 5/10
May 19 2024 : MariaVerde: 4/10
May 18 2024 : Guest 136: 6/10
May 16 2024 : cheeseit223: 7/10

Score Distribution

quiz
Quiz Answer Key and Fun Facts
1. In 1984, Leonard Cohen sang of a musician who played a "secret chord" -- which he then proceeded to explain, naming its parts as he played them. "It goes like this: the fourth, the fifth, the minor fall, the major lift." What had "the baffled king" composed?

Answer: Hallelujah

The first verse begins, "I heard there was a secret chord that David played and it pleased the Lord," and goes on to describe and evoke the Hallelujah, weaving in Biblical allusions with images of love and heartbreak. A simple, lovely tune, it has been covered innumerable times -- perhaps most famously by Jeff Buckley for the 1994 album "Grace" -- and is commonly used to set a sad mood in scenes from television shows and movies, from "The West Wing" and "Ugly Betty" to "Lord of War" and "Shrek."

"And even though it all went wrong," the singer promises, "I'll stand before the Lord of Song with nothing on my tongue but Hallelujah."
2. The lead singer of "With a Little Help from My Friends" seems a bit nervous about his role. "What would you do if I sang out of tune?" he asks. "Would you stand up and walk out on me?" Which Beatle sings so plaintively of this fate?

Answer: Ringo

Under the pseudonym "Billy Shears," Ringo Starr humbly suggests to his audience, "Lend me your ears and I'll sing you a song, and I'll try not to sing out of key." Ringo himself was not the Beatles' most confident singer, taking lead vocals on only a handful of songs. "With a Little Help from My Friends" was written especially for him, using only a few notes in the middle of his range, or so the story goes -- and bandmate Paul McCartney worked with him until he could hit the high note at the end.

The result is a sweet, catchy second track to the 1967 album "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band." It's incredible what you can do with a little help from your friends!
3. What happens to "our song" when a relationship goes sour? In her 1970 hit "Don't Play That Song," Aretha Franklin explored what happens to the music afterward. Why does she say she doesn't want to hear the song?

Answer: "'Cause it brings back memories ... It fills my heart with pain."

"Don't play that song for me," she pleads, "'cause it brings back memories of days that I once knew, the days that I spent with you ... It fills my heart with pain. Please stop it right away!" She goes on to explain that the man with whom she had shared that song had claimed, time and again, to love her -- but it turned out to be a lie. Some women -- like the character of Ilsa in the movie "Casablanca" -- might want to listen again to the songs of loves gone by, but this woman is not one of them!

"Don't Play That Song," written by Ahmet Ertegün and Betty Nelson, was a hit in 1962 for Ben E. King, the first person to record it, though Aretha Franklin's cover is more familiar to most listeners. In 2002, it was sung by Kelly Clarkson during her winning "American Idol" season; luckily, it doesn't seem to have filled her heart with pain!
4. Musicians looking for a hook have often used music as a metaphor. Hence we have the Hillside Singers proclaiming that they'd "like to teach the world to sing in perfect harmony." That 1971 single -- "I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing" -- did not arise purely out of musical altruism, however. In fact, the song began as an advertising jingle for what organization?

Answer: Coca-Cola

Originally titled "I'd Like to Buy the World a Coke," the song had a rather commercial chorus: "I'd like to teach the world to sing in perfect harmony. I'd like to buy the world a Coke and keep it company." When the Hillside Singers -- a group that formed solely to sing the song for the television commercial -- released the song as a single, they wisely replaced "I'd like to buy the world a Coke" with "I'd like to hold it in my arms," and retitled the song to match. Their version reached number 13 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100; the New Seekers, who had initially been contracted to sing the song, also had a hit with it.

Harmony, the sounding of different notes to provide depth and richness to a musical piece, makes a straightforward metaphor for peace, tolerance and cooperation between different groups of people; for example, "racial harmony" has become a common expression to describe people of different races getting along.
5. "When you read, you begin with A-B-C. When you sing, you begin with do-re-mi." Since the 1959 debut of the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical "The Sound of Music," students have sung to "Do-Re-Mi" as they learned the notes that define the Western musical scale. Which of these is the practice of singing a particular syllable for each note of the scale?

Answer: Solfeggio

Solfeggio, also known as solfège or sol-fa, is a system used for teaching singers the notes of a scale. Going up the scale, each note is given a single-syllable name: do, re, mi, fa, so, la, ti. (The precise names vary from country to country.) By singing each note to its own name (rather than to a lyric), the singer learns its sound and its place in the scale, making sight-reading music much easier.

In the song "Do-Re-Mi," the character of Maria (immortalized by Julie Andrews in the 1965 film) teaches the Von Trapp children how to sing using the solfeggio system. To help the tots remember the syllables, she describes each one with a similar-sounding English word. Thus "do" becomes "a deer, a female deer," while "ti" is "a drink with jam and bread." (Her creativity seems to fail her with "la -- a note to follow so!") And she finally sums up the point of solfeggio: "When you know the notes to sing, you can sing most anything!"
6. If you hear what I hear when listening to Christmas carols, it seems hard to escape music about music! Christmastime is signaled by the ringing of bells; everyone harks to the herald angels' singing; and even mountainsides are heard to echo these refrains. In "The Little Drummer Boy," the narrator describes how he plays a piece as a gift to the Christ child. What sound does his drum make?

Answer: Pa rum pum pum pum

The song tells how the drummer boy is brought to visit the infant Jesus. His companions have fine gifts to lay before the child, but the boy laments: "I am a poor boy too ... I have no gift to bring that's fit to give the King." Luckily, it then occurs to him that he does have one gift: his music. With the permission of the Virgin Mary, he plays his "best for Him" as the "ox and lamb [keep] time," and is rewarded with a smile. Each lyric of the verses is separated from the next with the refrain "pa rum pum pum pum": percussion punctuates the drummer's words.

Said to have originated as a Czech Christmas carol, "The Little Drummer Boy" first appeared in English in 1941, credited to Katherine Davis. It saw its first broad success in a Harry Simeone Chorale version in 1958; its place in the standard Christmas carol repertoire has been secure ever since.
7. Prince Tamino, protagonist of the 1791 opera "The Magic Flute" ("Die Zauberflöte"), relies on his faithful woodwind instrument to help him defeat various enemies and win the heart of the beautiful Princess Pamina. Its rich tone is much remarked upon -- when he plays, "even wild animals feel joy." From what material is this marvelous flute made?

Answer: Oak

Flutes, in a variety of forms, have been a part of humanity's soundtrack for tens of thousands of years. The earliest known flutes were made of bone; as time went by, more materials were tried, from bamboo to wood to metals. Modern concert flutes are generally made of metal, often silver-plated (or made from a silver alloy). There is impassioned debate about the material's effect on tone, but no scientific consensus.

If composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and librettist Emanuel Schikaneder are to be believed, however, the material of a flute certainly does affect its magical properties. Late in the second act, Pamina explains the incredible protective power of the titular flute: "My father cut it in a magical hour ... out of a thousand-year-old oak during lightning, thunder, storm and shower."
8. In 1979, the Charlie Daniels Band had their greatest hit with the song "The Devil Went Down to Georgia." They sing of music as being about more than life and death: a fiddle contest is a battle for nothing less than the immortal soul of a young man named Johnny. How does the song describe the Devil's preparation for his solo?

Answer: "Fire flew from his fingertips as he rosined up his bow."

"The Devil Went Down to Georgia" tells the tale of the Devil's visit to the southeastern U.S., "lookin' for a soul to steal." Satan proposes a wager with young Johnny: if the boy plays better than him, he'll receive a fiddle made of gold - but if the Devil bests him, he gets Johnny's soul forever. The prideful Johnny agrees, and the contest is on. Each of them applies rosin (a solid cake derived from tree resin) to his bow, in the tradition of violinists everywhere, to increase the friction of the bowstring and improve the tone of the music. The Devil begins the show: "He pulled the bow across the strings and it made an evil hiss." The Charlie Daniels Band provides fine fiddle solos for both contestants' parts, though they naturally seem more inspired by Johnny's performance!

Unusually for a song with some technical details of fiddlework, "The Devil Went Down to Georgia" did quite well on the U.S. charts, topping out the Billboard Hot Country Singles list and hitting number three on the more general-interest Billboard Hot 100.
9. Sometimes, musicians use their music to share their theories about its origins. In a 1972 song by Argent, remade by KISS in 1991, we hear that "if you wanna be a singer or play guitar, man, you gotta sweat or you won't get far." But how do they tell us we got rock and roll in the first place?

Answer: "God gave rock and roll to you."

"God Gave Rock and Roll to You" is one of Argent's most-covered songs; the most famous version is probably KISS's "God Gave Rock and Roll to You II," a tribute to dying drummer Eric Carr that was a memorable part of the soundtrack to "Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey." The chorus repeats the theory that "God gave rock and roll to you, gave rock and roll to you, put it in the soul of everyone." KISS's cover did not chart in the U.S., but it hit number four on the UK Singles Chart.

The incorrect lyrics are taken (with varying degrees of poetic license) from Ray Henderson's "The Birth of the Blues" (a hit for Frank Sinatra in 1952), Chuck Berry's "Roll Over Beethoven" (1956), and AC/DC's "Let There Be Rock" (1977).
10. To go by song titles, music can be a surprisingly violent art. In 1973, Roberta Flack had a hit with "Killing Me Softly with His Song"; luckily, the title seems to have been metaphorical. Who was the deadly songster who inspired this song, a man who himself sang of when "the music died"?

Answer: Don McLean

Don McLean, a folk rock singer/songwriter, saw some big successes in the 1970s and early 1980s. His most famous piece, "American Pie," centers around the reaction of the public to "the day the music died" - the plane crash that killed musicians Ritchie Valens, The Big Bopper, and Buddy Holly. In 1971, singer Lori Lieberman saw a concert by Don McLean. Moved, she wrote a poem ("Killing Me Softly with His Blues"), which Charles Fox and Norman Gimbel developed into a song that same year. Lieberman released "Killing Me Softly with His Song" first, but it was Roberta Flack who made it a success - in fact, Flack won three Grammy awards with the song.

The song is a vivid exploration of the power of music, and the deep connections between a musician and the audience. "I felt he found my letters and read each one out loud ... Strumming my pain with his fingers, singing my life with his words, killing me softly with his song ..."

Thank you for joining me on this musical journey. I hope you've enjoyed the ride as much as I have!
Source: Author CellarDoor

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