Karlheinz Essl

Portrait KHE

Listen Thing

Palindromic Christmas Canon in 4 Parts
Versions for Music Box / Toy Piano or Harpsichord or Organ

Basics | CDs | Listen | Videos | Score | Making of | Literature | Performances


Listen Thing is piece of 4 parts; the titles of each are anagrams of the name Listen Thing:
  1. Tingle Hints - inversion
  2. Shingle Tint - retrograde
  3. Lent in Sight - inversion of retrograde
  4. Silent Night - prime form
When the piece is performed on a music box, a single custom-punched paper tape is used which is inserted in 4 different orientations.

Furthermore, a version for toy piano, celesta, harpsichord or organ exists which is basically a transcription of the original music box piece.


Listen Thing (2008/2021) - organ version, performed by Wolfgang Kogert
From the CD ORGANO/LOGICS (col legno 2023)


Karlheinz Essl performing Listen Thing on a music box
Recorded by Marian Essl on 30 Nov 2008

Isabel Ettenauer performing Listen Thing on a toy piano
Studio kHz, 27 Dec 2011

Késia Decoté performing Listen Thing on a toy piano
St Mary's and St John's Church, Oxford, 17 Dec 2017

Wolfgang Kogert performing Listen Thing on a church organ
Schottenkirche Vienna, 26 Aug 2019

© 2019 by Darko Pleli

Making of

Karlheinz Essl punching the paper tape for Listen Thing


Exerpt of the score of Listen Things (2008) for toy piano

Here you can download the score in two different transpositions (C or G) in order to play it on various toy pianos.


whatever shall be
Isabel Ettenauer plays Karlheinz Essl's music for toy instruments and electronics
Edition eirelav, 2013
Wolfgang Kogert plays all organ works by Karlheinz Essl
col legno, 2023


Isabel Ettenauer: A short introduction to the Music for Toy Piano by Karlheinz Essl
in: Fowl Feathered Review, Issue 4, Summer 2013, ed. by Virgil Kay (Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada), p. 74-81.

Rachel Wells Hall, Programmable Mathe-Musical Boxes
in: Proceedings of Bridges 2015: Mathematics, Music, Art, Architecture, Culture (University of Baltimore), p. 351-352.

Antonietta Loffredo: The Toy Piano. From the Playroom to the Concert Platform
(Bologna: Ut Orpheus, 2018). - ISBN: 978-88-8109-511-7

Home Works Sounds Bibliography Concerts

Updated: 1 Mar 2023