Connections between Music and Chess

by John Greschak
john@greschak.com
July 22, 1998 - May 24, 2008






Musical Compositions Related to Chess: An Annotated Bibliography
Musical Terms that are used in Chess
Other Connections between Music and Chess
 
 

Musical Compositions Related to Chess

This is a list of pieces of music that are related in some way to the game of chess. There is no doubt that many of the pieces listed here bear only a distant (or unknown) relationship to chess. For example, it is likely that in some cases the only connection is that the word chess was used in the title of the piece. All known relationships are described in the annotations.

The following resources were used to compile the original version of this list:

Absil, Jean. Chess Game, Suite for Piano, op. 96. Anderson, Jon, and Chris Squire 1971. I've Seen All Good People. Andersson, Benny, Björn Ulvaeus, and Tim Rice 1984. Chess. Bennett, Ray 1973. None the Wiser (King); Farewell Number One (Pawn); Man of Honour (Knight); Dead Ahead (Queen); Bishop. Bliss, Sir Arthur, and Ninette de Valois 1937. Checkmate. Bouliane, Daniel and André Mongeon 2004. E4. Cage, John 1943. Chess Pieces. Cage, John 1968. Reunion. Chopinet 1990. Ana. Clément, Murielle Lucie 1996. Sketches of Chess. Cohen, Marcia 1971. Chess Set: for Percussion and Electronic Tape. Cruft, Adrian 1986. Chess Pieces (for Trumpet and Piano). London: Joad Press. Eberwein 1819. Das Schachturnier (Le tournoi aux échecs). Haas, Michael [Engelke, pseud.] and Emmerich Haimer 1999. Das Schachbrett des Trommelbuben Zacharias. Hanson, Sten 1979-85. John Carter Songbook. Harvey, Richard, Brian Gulland, Graeme Taylor, David Oberlé and Philip Nestor 1974. Red Queen to Gryphon Three. Johansson, Mats 1997. Holistic Medicine. Johnson, Timothy Ernest 2004. Antyphony: Paul Morphy vs. Duke of Brunswick and Count Isouard. Johnson, Timothy Ernest 2004-08. Antyphony: Gary Kasparov vs. Deep Blue. Kapr, Jan 1972. Chess Sonata for Two Pianos, or piano and magnetic tape with the part of 2nd piano. Lacerda, Osvaldo 1971. Cromos: para Piano. Sao Paulo: Irmaos Vitale. Lewis, John. The Chess Game. MacLean, Dougie 1994. Marching Mystery. Dunkeld Records. Madetoja, Leevi 1910. Shakkipeli (Chess Game). Martinu, Bohuslav. Échecs au roi. Noel-Johnson, Reginald Charles 1953. Sinbad the Sailor on Ice. Nyman, Michael 1986. The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat. Parmerud, Åke 1993. Jeux Imaginaires. Rabaud, Henri 1927. Le Joueur D'échecs (The Chess Player) for Piano. Paris: Max Eschig. Reif, Paul 1965. Philidor’s defense: a musical chess game. Rieti, Vittorio 1945. Chess Serenade: suite for two pianos. New York: Associated Music. Rorem, Ned 1973. Day Music: for Violin and Piano. New York: Boosey & Hawkes. Sabouroff, P. P. Love Symphony. Shorter, Wayne 1960. The Chess Players. Simon, Ladislav 1971. Sachova Dama (Chess Queen), Blues for jazz orchestra. Slick, Grace 1966. White Rabbit. Solare, Juan María 1986. Ajedrez I y II (Chess I and II) for voice and piano. Solare, Juan María 1992. Ben Oni for Flute, Clarinet and Violoncello. Solare, Juan María 1996. Diez Estudios Escénicos (Ten scenic Etudes) for two actors, one actress, diverse objects and instrumental sextet: violin, doublebass, horn, bass clarinet, vibraphone and piano. Solare, Juan María 1999. Zugzwang (fifteen authentic miniatures about the strategy of chess) for quartet: violin (or flute), alto sax (or clarinet), double bass (or violoncello) and piano (or synthesizer). Stravinsky, Igor 1913. Le Sacre du Printemps (The Rite of Spring). Stuermer, Wolfgang von, Dietrich Eichmann, Christoph Grund, Uwe Kremp and Reimar Volker 1987/1989. Game and Earnest. Vermeulen, Robert Jan 1997. Gary Kasparov - Black and White. Waschka II, Rodney 1985. Euwe Suite. White, John 1968. Cello and Tuba Machine. Wright, Richard, and David Gilmour 1968. Pawn to King 5. ? 1607. Ballet des Échecs.



Musical Terms that are used in Chess

The Oxford Companion to Chess is a comprehensive encyclopedia of chess. It contains articles on history, terminology, chess players, and the relationship between chess and other subjects such as music, art, theatre, literature and philosophy. Many of the terms listed in this book are also musical terms. For example, in chess, a person who creates puzzles and problems to be solved is called a composer, and two different sequences of moves that lead from one given position to another are said to be related by transposition. Some other terms that are used in chess and music are: play, piece, notation, score, tempo, theme, variation, development, minimal composition, round, major and minor, position, second, retrograde, mirror, attack, anticipation, phase and echo.

Hooper, David, and Kenneth Whyld 1996. The Oxford Companion to Chess. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press.

Randel, Don Michael, ed. 1986. The New Harvard Dictionary of Music. Cambridge, Massachusetts and London: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.
 
 

Other Connections between Music and Chess

Boettcher, Wendy S., Sabrina S. Hahn, and Gordon L. Shaw 1994. “Mathematics and Music: A Search for Insight into Higher Brain Function.” Leonardo Music Journal 4: 53-58. Chicco, Adriano 1987. “Uno ‘Scacchiero’ Musicale.” Scacchi e scienze applicate 5: 6-7. Franklin, Paul B. and Lowell Cross 2005. “Composing Chess.” In List, Larry (Ed.) 2005. The Imagery of Chess Revisited. New York: Braziller. Pavy, Claude 2002. “Jeu d'échecs et musique.” In Minutes du colloque jeu d'échecs, arts et sciences humaines, La Libre Case.



Update History

July 22, 1998: Completed the first version of this page.

July 4, 1999: Added several works by Juan María Solare.

January 11, 2000: Added the entry for the song I've Seen All Good People by Jon Anderson and Chris Squire as a result of information provided by Eric Saathoff.

June 27, 2000: Added the entry for the song The Chess Players by Wayne Shorter based on information provided by Mike C. Added the entry for the album Red Queen to Gryphon Three by the band Gryphon (i.e. Richard Harvey et al.) based on information provided by Bill Martin. Also, the entry for I've Seen All Good People was expanded to mention Bill Martin's analysis of this song.

April 14, 2001: Added the entry for Shakkipeli by Leevi Madetoja based on information provided by Markus Lång. (Note: Markus Lång has compiled a comprehensive list of musical compositions inspired by Lewis Carroll at http://www.helsinki.fi/~mlang/lewis/carroll-music.html.)

May 26, 2001: Added the entry for Le Joueur D'échecs by Henri Rabaud based on information provided by Theodore van Houten.

April 26, 2003: Added the entry for Holistic Medicine by Mats Johansson. Added the entry for various songs written by Ray Bennett on the album Out of Our Hands. Both entries are based on information provided by Robert Eksteen. Added the entry for White Rabbit by Grace Slick.

December 17, 2004: Added the entry for The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat by Michael Nyman based on information provided by Robert Eksteen. Added the entry for Euwe Suite by Rodney Waschka II based on information provided by Philip Krumm. Added the entry for Cello and Tuba Machine by John White based on information provided by John Kent. Added information to the entry for Pawn to King 5 by Richard Wright and David Gilmour.

February 12, 2005: Added the entry for pieces written by Daniel Bouliane and André Mongeon on the album E4 by the band DAK.

July 5, 2005: Added the entry for Antyphony: Paul Morphy vs. Duke of Brunswick and Count Isouard by Timothy Ernest Johnson. Added the entry for the article Jeu d'échecs et musique by Claude Pavy.

May 25, 2006: Added the entry for the album Das Schachbrett des Trommelbuben Zacharias written by Michael Haas and Emmerich Haimer (of the band Angizia) based on information provided by Robert Eksteen. Added an addendum to the entry for Chess Pieces by John Cage based on information provided by Zac Bond.

June 7, 2006: Added the entry for the piece Gary Kasparov - Black and White by Robert Jan Vermeulen based on information provided by Robert Eksteen.

May 24, 2008: Added the entry for Antyphony: Gary Kasparov vs. Deep Blue by Timothy Ernest Johnson. Added the entry for the article Composing Chess by Paul B. Franklin and Lowell Cross.
 


Other Work by John Greschak

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