The Well-Tempered Ear

Classical music: Take NPR’s Olympics Quiz. Can you match the right piece of classical music or the right character in classical music to the right Olympic sport? | August 4, 2012

By Jacob Stockinger

It’s the weekend again.

This summer and at the time of this summer, that means there will be a lot of Olympic watching of the London Olympics on the TV and over the Internet.

In keeping with that reality and with the spirit of the competition, NPR’s always creative “Deceptive Cadence” blog has once again come up with an original approach: A quiz (also called a Quizzler) that allows readers — and listeners — to match the right piece of classical music or the right character in classical music with the right Olympic sport.

As an Armchair Olympian, can you score a Bullseye or two?

It reminds The Ear of the kind of clever teasers and questions you hear during the intermission Opera Quizzes on the live radio broadcasts by the Metropolitan Opera.

Here is a link:

It is short enough that you can even do it during a break or an ad.

So enjoy! And please send in any other suggestions of questions and answers that you might have for a similar quiz to the COMMENT section.

NPR might even use your suggestion in Version 2.0 next weekend – when the Olympic Games this summer come to an end – or in four years.


  1. Ok, I’ve been enjoying this blog for a while, but what’s going on with the oversaturation of wikipedia links? Do we really need a link to “television,” quiz,” and “internet”? Furthermore, NPR and Deceptive Cadence could have linked to their actual sites, instead of the NPR wiki page and the (completely irrelevant) wiki page on cadence.

    Am I missing something? This is driving me bonkers, trying to sift through worthless links every time this blog updates.

    Comment by Colin — August 6, 2012 @ 4:42 pm

    • Hi Colin,

      Sorry you feel burdened by such links.
      They come up automatically as choices when I am writing, and some topics seem to invite or generate them more than others.

      I offer them with the understanding that one can always not follow them. But if the word or link does interest you, you can pursue that interest.

      So far, yours in the only complaint. If it bothers others, I would like to hear from them.And I will try harder not to offer superfluous or repetitive leaks.

      Hope that helps answer your objection or observation.

      Thanks for reading and replying.

      Comment by welltemperedear — August 6, 2012 @ 9:48 pm

  2. Reminds me of Drop the Needle from the ol’ LP dayz in Music School. If the track does not play the most familiar part of the piece, one has a rather harder time of it.
    I would have gone with Debussy’s Voiles for the sailing bit, and as for Das Rheingold for swimming, I was never gonna get that one. Taras Bulba, either. And, why not the Wihelm Tell overture, instead of the choral cut, probably from the end of the opera. Oh, well, so much for the jazz piano player’s attempt. It took 11 trys to get them all properly situated. MBB

    Comment by Michael BB — August 4, 2012 @ 10:27 am

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