Classical music has stood the test of time of the centuries, and as other music fads have come then gone, and finally faded away into obscurity, classical music has remained a constant. Without classical music we would have no written music or form, the instruments would be completely different, and the popular music of today would have little resemblance to what we know. So just how exactly has classical music influenced pop? And why is it so important?
One of the biggest influences that classical music has had on pop is the chorus, everybody is aware of the catchy repeated tune in pop music that is constantly replaying in your head. But this was developed by classical music as a short melody that repeated a theme and brought the listener back to the main piece. Nearly every pop song you will hear is structured around the chorus, it often it is the piece of the song that we remember the most, and classical music was the originator.
The Baroque Period
The complexity of rock music has a lot to thank to the Baroque era of classical music. This era was renowned for its musical complexity and tempo. Bands such as Led Zeppelin have identified the importance of classical composers to their music and how much they were influenced by them. Even Lady Gaga has Baroque themes running through many of her songs.
Mainstream Songs with Classical Influences
If you were to listen to the songs listed below it is easy to hear the influence that classical music had on them.
- The Beatles – Because
- Queen – It’s a Hard Life
- Barry Manilow – Could it be Magic
- Muse – Plug in Baby
- Ludacris – Coming to America
These songs are all in very different music genres but they rely heavily on classical rhythms, structure and themes.
Words & Music
Although the great majority of classical music is instrumental and the vast proportion of pop has vocals, there are still many common threads and themes between the two genres. In fact, the similarities between pop and classical are not connected to the great choral and operatic classical works.
Rather it is the main body of instrumental classical music that provides the greatest influences. How classical music is structured has a major role in many of today’s pop songs. The start, chorus, middle eight, and the end is how many pop songs are structured. If you look to the Romantic era of classical music, you can see that many pieces are structured in a very similar fashion.
Bach & Mozart the Pop Stars of Their Era
Many people regard classical music as from another age, something that only old people enjoy. But in their day composers such as Bach and Mozart were the pop stars of their age, their music was quite revolutionary to what had been before and nobody had heard the like of it before. There is no doubt whatsoever that pop music has many close similarities with classical music, and has benefitted greatly because of it.