Many of our parents have probably had one song rattling around in their head recently, and they’d probably like a break! Well, we’re super sorry guys… but we’re gonna dedicate a whole blog post to Tchaikovsky’s Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy, as we have so many kiddies learning this challenging but fun piece! (Click away if you don’t want it in your head for the rest of the day!)
It’s featured in the Fiddle Time Sprinters book, so if your child is learning from that book, but you haven’t come across it yet… you’re next!
It’s a beautiful piece that conjures up images of fairies dancing around a pond! The Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy is one of the ballet’s best known musical numbers. It is often “jazzed up” for television commercials at Christmas time.
If you think you’ve heard of it before, but can’t quite place it… here’s the scene from Disney’s Fantasia that features the dance
Back when it was written, the choreographer Marius Petipa wanted the Sugar Plum Fairy’s music to sound like “drops of water shooting from a fountain”. Tchaikovsky found the ideal instrument to do this job in Paris in 1891. It was then that he came across the recently invented celesta. This instrument looked like a piano. It sounded like bells. Tchaikovsky wrote, “The celesta is midway between a tiny piano and a Glockenspiel, with a divinely wonderful sound.”
This is what a celesta looks like, if you haven’t seen one. It’s kind of like a tiny, chirpy piano.
There are plenty of interpretations of this famous piece on YouTube, here are some of our favourites! Have a listen and see if you can pick where your violin part comes in!
Below is an acapella version