Digging Up Music (Solution)

by Miriam Gershenson

The puzzle consists of 36 snippets of sheet music followed by 36 text clues. The answer to each clue is a composer who wrote the music that one of the snippets comes from. The clues are presented in alphabetical order by answer. Each music snippet has a wrong note in it. Index the position of the wrong note into the composer's name (full name, using IMSLP as a reference in most cases). The letters in order of the music snippets give the clue:


Now take the wrong notes and put them in order. You get the music shown below, which is Chariots of Fire, by Vangelis. The PBS documentary is Cosmos, and the host is CARL SAGAN.

The music sources are shown below:

The answers to the individual clues are as follows:

  • This American composer was questioned by McCarthy about possible affiliation with Communism: Aaron Copland
  • His work reflected the politics of Bohemia, where he was born: Antonin Dvorak
  • This Hungarian composer was one of the founders of ethnomusicology: Bela Bartok
  • He was a friend of Franz Liszt and Gabriel Faure, and hated Claude Debussy's music: Camille Saint-Saens
  • He became unable to sing well after drinking engraver's acid that was kept in a wine bottle: Carl Maria von Weber
  • Some of his most famous music was written for a play that features trolls: Edvard Grieg
  • He was the Lutheran grandson of a prominent Jewish philosopher: Felix Mendelssohn
  • He lived less than 32 years, but became well-known for his Lieder: Franz Schubert
  • This Polish composer wrote mostly for solo piano: Frederic Chopin
  • He was appointed head of the Paris Conservatorie in the wake of a scandal: Gabriel Faure
  • This German-born British composer wrote over forty operas: George Frideric Handel
  • As a teenager, he worked for a music publisher on Tin Pan Alley before any of his music was published: George Gershwin
  • This French composer, known for only a few of his works, abandoned an opera he was writing when the Paris Opera burned: Georges Bizet
  • This composer of operas almost died in a car accident in 1903: Giacomo Puccini
  • He was nicknamed "the Italian Mozart": Gioacchino Rossini
  • Many of his operas were later read as being about the unification of Italy: Giuseppe Verdi
  • This English composer studied Sanskrit: Gustav Holst
  • His parents intended him to become a doctor, and he never learned to play the piano: Hector Berlioz
  • His time at Juilliard was interrputed by World War II: Henry Mancini
  • Boston police stopped performances of his unusual arrangement of "The Star-Spangled Banner": Igor Stravinsky
  • He left the Paris Conservatorie after only a year, and went on to compose humorous operettas: Jacques Offenbach
  • His most famous piece is the only canon he wrote: Johann Pachelbel
  • His birth was close in place and time to George Frideric Handel's, but they never met: Johann Sebastian Bach
  • He made a recording of one of his Hungarian dances, invited by a representative of the equipment's inventor: Johannes Brahms
  • This composer of marches developed an instrument often used in marching bands: John Philip Sousa
  • He wrote the scores of many recent films, especially those directed by Steven Spielberg: John Williams
  • He left his home in a small Austrian village to train as a musician at age 6: Joseph Haydn
  • He started to lose his hearing while still in his mid-twenties, but kept writing music: Ludwig van Beethoven
  • He is best known for a piece that he described as "a piece for orchestra without music": Maurice Ravel
  • He is known for a piece orchestrated by Rimsky-Korsakov: Modest Mussorgsky
  • One of his ballets is very commonly performed at Christmas: Pyotr Tchaikovsky
  • This composer wrote both the music and the libretto for his operas, and also wrote political essays: Richard Wagner
  • His marriage to his teacher's daughter was the subject of a long legal battle: Robert Schumann
  • He grew up in Texarkana and became famous for ragtime: Scott Joplin
  • He left Russia after the Russian Revolution, and lived in many places, eventually dying in Beverly Hills: Sergei Rachmaninoff
  • It has often been claimed that his music makes children smarter: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart