Storytelling with Classical Music throughout History

Long before this blog was born, telling specific stories through music was a common idea. Many composers, especially in the 19thcentury, wrote what has been called “program music,” or music that expresses an image or story. You’ve probably already heard of some of these: “Clair de Lune” (“Moonlight”) by Debussy, “Night on Bald Mountain” by Mussorgsky, and “Pines of Rome” by Respighi. Hector Berlioz even wrote a piece called Symphonie Fantastique in which a man overdoses on opium, dreams he is beheaded, and then sees his true love in hell where he discovers that she’s a witch (he based it on his real-life obsession with an actress…yikes!). Continue reading “Storytelling with Classical Music throughout History”

Classical Music Stories

Pride and Prejudice: A Choose Your Own Adventure Story with Classical Music


If YOU were in control of the story, what would happen next?

If you’re like me and love to read novels, you also love to use your imagination. Traveling to foreign places, having adventures, and experiencing all kinds of emotions and experiences through the characters we read about can be a fun escape from the world!

Classical music can also transport us into new worlds. Film scores can transport us to a very specific place, but you can imagine your own images and storyline to match any piece of instrumental music you hear!

Here’s a choose-your-own adventure version of Pride and Prejudice, then, with which you can follow along as you listen to some music written waaaaaay back in the 18th century (around when the book was actually written in the first place!). Some details are different than what you’ll actually find in the book, but others are the same.

Ultimately, the choice is yours.

What will happy to Lizzy Bennet? Continue reading “Pride and Prejudice: A Choose Your Own Adventure Story with Classical Music”

Classical Music Stories

A Music Version of Doublethink (Classical Music Stories: 1984)


Every new version of this unsettling theme is the Thought Police altering the facts.

Classical Music Stories is a series that connects music to your favorite books and characters. Since listening to classical music can be like hearing a story, imagining specific stories that match the music can make it that much more fun and accessible!

At first, it’s easy to hear how the music keeps playing the same melody over and over again in slightly different ways. But over time that becomes harder and harder to hear. Continue reading “A Music Version of Doublethink (Classical Music Stories: 1984)”


Who Would Be the Worst Babysitter: Friar Lawrence or the Grinch?

I wouldn’t trust either of them within thirty-nine and a half feet of my child! But who would actually be the worst?

The Friar

Image result for friar lawrenceFriar Lawrence literally looked two teens in the eye and said, why yes, I’ll help you get married. Then he proceeded to give the EXTREMELY IMPORTANT letter detailing how Juliet isn’t actually dead to someone who has no idea what the stakes are. Shouldn’t he have said something like, “Hey man, if you don’t deliver this letter it’s going to be really, really, really, really, really bad?” Or maybe he did and the other friar just thought to himself, “Ha, another one of Larry’s jokes. What a guy!” Continue reading “Who Would Be the Worst Babysitter: Friar Lawrence or the Grinch?”

Songs For Every Book

Songs for Every Book: A Rock Star Version of Mr. Knightley

Emma Knightley electric guitar songs for every book

If rock music had been around in the 18th century, Mr. Knightley would have been majorly jamming to this song in his frustration over Emma.

She just can’t seem to get it in her head that he loves HER, not, Harriet! How could she possibly be so blind??

The Bots just get it: Continue reading “Songs for Every Book: A Rock Star Version of Mr. Knightley”


Red Robin Hood: A Collection of Alternative Fairy Tales

Red Robin Hood image.jpg

Fairy tales have been passed down throughout the ages, where different cultures have recorded unique variations of the same fundamental stories. The SurLaLune series, for example, has entire books of all the different versions of Beauty and the Beast, Cinderella, The Twelve Dancing Princesses, etc.

But there are some versions that have been passed down much less reliably over time, and after working with a team of highly skilled researchers from only the best institutions from around the world, we are excited to premiere here a preliminary list of their titles, alongside brief summaries. We can only hope that as research continues the details of these stories will similarly be brought to light, to delight children’ ears just as they did in ancient times. Continue reading “Red Robin Hood: A Collection of Alternative Fairy Tales”

Songs For Every Book

Songs for Every Book: An Alternative Happy Ending for Ophelia

Ophelia waterline hope alternate ending

If tragedies were dark chocolate, Hamlet would be 87% cacao — at least!

Starting with Scene 1, Hamlet’s dad is murdered, his mom marries his evil uncle, and Hamlet himself sends off his childhood buddies to be murdered. Casual. At the end basically everyone dies, including Hamlet and his love interest, Ophelia (…AND his mom AND his uncle AND Polonius AND you get the idea).

For me, Ophelia’s suicide by drowning is one of the most tragic deaths of the play, though. While all the deaths are truly awful, she’s more of a bystander than actively embroiled in all the nasty craziness. She’s doing her best, but can you imagine watching your boyfriend go insane and then hearing that said boyfriend killed your dad??

But what if Ophelia pulled through? Continue reading “Songs for Every Book: An Alternative Happy Ending for Ophelia”


Your Next Creative Hobby: The Make-Your-Own Lego Movie Books


The day I stumbled upon these books was a good, good day.

I always love looking at Klutz books when I go to a craft or toy store, even though I’m technically an adult now. The childhood memories are fun by themselves, and honestly some of the books still look pretty cool! Case in point? This Lego make-your-own-movie book. Continue reading “Your Next Creative Hobby: The Make-Your-Own Lego Movie Books”


Classical Music Stories Tutorial: What to Do When the Music Changes


On this blog you’ll often find Classical Music Stories, a series that connects music to your favorite books and characters through storytelling. Of course, the purpose of the series isn’t to force one particular way of hearing the music, but instead to spark ideas on how to hear your own stories in music.

But how do you do that? Continue reading “Classical Music Stories Tutorial: What to Do When the Music Changes”