Korobeiniki (Коробе́йники)

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Korobeiniki (Коробе́йники) is the music from which the theme to the video game Tetris was based. This theme and variations starts slow and gets faster until the big “huge hands” finish that is much easier to play than it sounds!

SKU: AJM17033 Category: Tags: ,


The Russian folk song Korobeiniki is based on a poem of the same name by Nikolay Nekrasov, which was first printed in the magazine Sovremennik in 1861.

Today, it is best known as the source material for the music for the blockbuster video game Tetris. This arrangement uses the melody found in the earliest known printed manuscript of the melody, which is slightly different from the video game arrangement.

The theme and variations starts out slow with blocked chords, then speeds up a little with a melodic counterpoint in the left hand, then speeds up more with a broken chord passage in the left hand. The next variation adds sixteenth notes to the melody to make it sound even faster, and the final variation uses big pedal tones in the bass, parallel chords in both hands, and the damper pedal to huge dramatic sounds that are easier to execute than they sound. It’s a motivating winner for everyone!

Key: G minor

Mood: dark and sad at first, transforming to nimble and light, then becoming big and dramatic at the end

Pedagogy: staccato, pedal tones, theme and variations form, G minor scales, parallel chords in both hands, counterpoint between hands.

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1 review for Korobeiniki (Коробе́йники)

  1. Andrea West

    This was a wonderful piece for my intermediate student. It was her summer project, and she thoroughly enjoyed learning and memorizing this piece.

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