CLASSICAL MUSIC FOR SLEEP

Lovely masterpieces to help you fall asleep

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Nhi Nguyen, Feature Editor

Imagine it is eleven at night, you are lying peacefully in bed, bundled up in your blanket. You lay awake for five minutes…ten minutes…twenty minutes… You look up at the clock, and you realize that you’ve been shifting about for a whole hour. We all have felt that feeling before. We all have gone to bed one evening ready to have a tranquil night of sleep, only to be disappointed with hours of restlessness. To counter this, we all have our own ways to ensure a good night’s sleep. Some people listen to music, others podcasts, and others even listen to rain sounds to combat this sleeplessness. I surveyed a group of our iUPrep students ranging from grades 6-12, and here are some of our Owls’ favorite pre-bed routines.

 

Most of our Owls go to sleep fairly early- roughly 40% of students go to sleep around 10:00-10:30 pm. I also asked our students what their favorite pastimes before bed was, and a staggering 77% of the students I surveyed said that they read before going to sleep. A few other responses included drawing, studying, watching television, and using phones. I also asked students if they listened to music before bed, and a good 40% said yes! Of those students, a good portion also mentioned that classical music was their bedtime go-to.

 

Since classical music seems to be a soporific aid for a good amount of the students I surveyed, (an estimate of 40%) here is a list of 10 dreamy classical pieces that will hopefully get you into that sleepy mood at bedtime.

  • Reverie, Claude Debussy

This lovely, lilting classic is a must hear for all those who are in need of a peaceful mindset. Debussy’s mastery is fully showcased in every melodious run, every inverted chord in this gorgeous piece composed for piano.

  • The Blue Danube, Johann Strauss II

In Strauss’ Blue Danube, listeners will not only enjoy a lovely melody line, but also the full experience of the sound of a full symphony orchestra. This piece is bound to set you in a peaceful, yet cheerful mood before.

  • Jazz Suite No. 2: Vi Waltz 2, Dmitri Shostakovich

One of Shostakovich’s most famous compositions, this Jazz Suite is a happy-go-lucky piece for those who want to uplift their mood right before falling into a blissful sleep. Its gorgeous string melodies, in combination with the majestic horn and brass melody line bring about an extremely full and pleasant piece of classical music.

  • Liebestraum, Nocturne in Ab Maj, Franz Liszt

In the Liebestraum, one of classical piano’s most notorious composers masterfully crafts a delightful winding nocturne that makes one sway to its melodious beat. This beautiful nocturne in Ab Major by Liszt is bound to serenade you to sleep.

  • The Swan, Camille Saint-Saens

Another staple of calm classical music, Saint-Saens’ The Swan is one of my personal favorites. Composed for solo cello and piano accompaniment, the swan is one of the most played compositions of the Carnival of the Animals Suite. This piece truly embodies the peaceful demeanor of a pure white swan gliding across a tranquil lake. Sometimes when I want to fall asleep quickly, I just put this piece on repeat.

  • Serenade for Strings in E Maj, Antonin Dvorak

As seen in the title, this serenade in E Major is dominated by the strings. Opening intensely, the piece is immensely dynamic and marked with softer, slower parts that showcase the versatility of stringed instruments. In this Serenade in E Major, Dvorak successfully crafts a masterpiece of dynamic technique for any chamber orchestra’s string section.

  • Suite for Violoncello Solo No. 1 in G Maj, Johann Sebastian Bach

Bach’s Suite for Violoncello Solo No. 1 in G Major is possibly the most famous and most played cello piece in all of classical music. The solo is favorably played in the deep bass tones and arpeggios up to the cello’s higher octaves, highlighting the beauty and impressive range of the instrument. 

  • La Mer, Claude Debussy

A true classical masterpiece, Debussy’s La Mer is a seamless combination of sound and imagery. When listening to ‘the sea’, I cannot help but imagine the peaceful waves of the ocean, drifting, then the tides turn- the sea transforms into a turbulent, majestic force of nature. Its lulling tones during the peaceful section remind me of instrumental lullabies. Listening to this piece will not only help you fall asleep, it will help you appreciate the mastery of Debussy in the composition of La Mer.

  • Sonata for Two Pianos KV448, Amadeus Mozart

Composed by the biggest name in classical music, this Sonata for two pianos is a must-listen. Simple in nature, this sonata is so light and enjoyable. If performed professionally, one doesn’t even realize that there are actually two pianos playing in tandem. The two countermelodies flow so harmoniously together, creating a lovely, sway-inducing piece fit to calm you down right before you fall asleep. If you wake up refreshed, you can thank Mozart for this absolute masterpiece of ear bliss. 

  • Gymnopedie No. 1, Erik Satie

You’ve most likely heard this song in a youtube video, compilation video, or even part of those ‘lo-fi chill beat’ videos that are always on the YouTube homepage. This lovely, somewhat haunting piano piece is perfect for someone in want of restful sleep.

 

Those are my top ten classical pieces for sleep. Hopefully they help you rest well.

If you’ve listened to this whole playlist and these songs don’t help you drift off to sleep, you could always try counting sheep again!

 

A link to the PDF of the survey results:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1UcO-1KnnwZvW3itP6KOrSNbWYHVtm9oh/view?usp=sharing