The Russian composer Dmitri Borisovich Kabalevsky devoted a great deal of his life’s work to music for children.
In About the Three Whales and Many Other Things: A book about music, he brings his approach to music and education together. He expresses his views on “the three whales” of music: the song, the dance, the march. These genres are like the great mythological whales that support the earth. It’s a metaphor that may be applied to much of his music and is a way of viewing larger musical works.
Kabalevsky takes the reader from the simple folk song to the art song, cantata, oratorio and opera. With dance he moves from folk dance to ballet. His discussion of the march leads children from the parade ground to the symphonic repertoire, providing a bridge to the sonata and symphony. He talks about the song, the dance and the march with reference to the major forms of music and a diversity of musical works.