Classical music’s calming effects are widely known and well-studied. Listening to classical music has been proven to enhance relaxation by increasing dopamine production and decreasing the production of stress releasing hormones. It’s no wonder why parents often play classical music for their children during bedtime or quiet time.
However, if you head to the store and pick-up your standard music for bedtime CD or pop on a youtube playlist, you’re likely going to hear the exact same pieces over and over again. Pachelbel’s Canon in D, anyone? There is so much more beautiful and relaxing classical music out there besides these overplayed melodies, so we decided to put together a short list for you!
Here are five calming classical music gems that you’ve likely never heard on your average bedtime playlist. Hand your little one their favorite stuffed animal, take some deep breaths, and get ready for one relaxing ride.
Edvard Greig: Solveig’s Song from Peer Gynt
Grieg’s Peer Gynt Suite might be most famous for its “Morning Mood” movement, but the work is full of many other great pieces. Solveig’s Song goes back and forth between a beautifully slow, melancholy song and a tranquil lilting melody. It’s like a peaceful walk through a quiet mountain valley.
Gustav Mahler: Adagietto from Symphony no. 5
Mahler is well-known for his large orchestras and giant symphonic works, but the Adagietto movement from his Symphony no. 5 stands apart. It is heartbreakingly beautiful. Performed by a full string orchestra, the piece ebbs and flows from quiet whispers to lush swells of strings.
Ludwig van Beethoven: Movement 2 from Piano Sonata no. 5
The Second Movement from Beethoven’s Piano Sonata no. 5, the Pathetique Sonata, is simple and clear. The movement gracefully slides through major and minor keys, and every note fits perfectly into the calming melodies.
Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina: Kyrie from Missa Pro Defunctis
Palestrina’s Missa Pro Defunctins is over 425 years old! The Kyrie movement from this piece is a beautiful example of renaissance music. Shining vocal parts perfectly harmonize as they soar up and down the staff. The meditative nature of this Kyrie will do wonders to calm a busy mind or a sleepless child.
Alan Hovhaness: Nocturne for Harp
Hovhaness’ Nocturne for Harp is like a wonderful dream. The tranquil river of harp glissandos and chords remain quiet, yet steady, throughout the duration of the piece. It is the ultimate in bedtime music.
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