As Olivia Rodrigo sang “drivers license”, music enthusiasts began to compare her voice and style to that of Taylor Swift – mentioning that she has a similar style to Swift’s music. It’s not uncommon to draw comparisons within modern music genres; it makes listening to music more interesting. While pop music has been a staple for decades, it’s never too late to pick up a new genre. Classical music might offer an entirely distinct experience for its listeners. It has been around substantially longer than pop and has served as the foundation for almost all contemporary music.
But let’s be honest, classical music can seem unapproachable to people who are primarily into pop culture. It might also come off as intimidating, especially with the traditional setting of high-end venues and a sophisticated audience. Music, after all, is meant to entice listeners and transport them to a different world.
Understanding Classical Music
Classical music refers to music that follows European music tradition and is identified by its instruments, style, and composition. It has been around for hundreds of years – J.S Bach, Beethoven, and Mozart are a few examples of classical composers. You don’t have to be familiar with classical music to draw similarities between it and modern pop or electronic music.
When compared to pop, classical music usually has slower tempos or timings. Its pieces are longer, and vastly more intricate than modern pop songs. Still, the instruments and the production techniques used in classical music serve as the foundation of modern music. Before you start delving into the different genres of classical music, it is best to go through the different elements that make up classical music.
Pop Music Vs. Classical Music
The differences between classical and pop music are numerous, but there are similarities as well.
One of the most apparent differences between classical and contemporary music is its composition. Classical compositions are developed with different styles such as symphony, sonata, or choral, whereas commercial pop music typically follows the structure of the verse-chorus-bridge format.
Classical Music and Its Composers
Before the era of digital music and pop music, classical music dominated the music scene. Classical music shows no signs of slowing down and continues its influence on all contemporary music genres; its rich melodic and harmonic structure has been a constant source of inspiration for music creators worldwide. As mentioned earlier, classical composers like Mozart, Beethoven, and Bach have made significant contributions to the music industry.
If you’re a fan of electronic or EDM, Aphex Twin is a name worth checking out. Similarly, a fan of Post Malone should look up the operatic scenes by Giuseppe Verdi. Lastly, listeners who enjoy pop punk music can find the same high energy in Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons”.
Matching Popular Genres With Classical Composers
Let’s begin matching up popular genres with their corresponding classical composers.
Pop has been around since the 1950s, and since then, it has grown and evolved into multiple sub-genres. Some of the most common pop genres are pop ballads, synth-pop, pop rock, and indie pop. One of the most popular pop songs of 2021 – “Bad Guy” by Billie Eilish – has a certain similarity to Claude Debussy’s “Clair de Lune”. The mellow, atmospheric tones of Eilish’s voice and the slow-burning melody of “Bad Guy” almost sound like a modern take on the French composer’s classic piano piece.
The baroque genre is a staple of classical music with a substantial following, and composers such as Vivaldi, Handel, and Bach are some of the most popular names in the baroque era. Fans of musicals or show tunes can explore Giuseppe Verdi’s operatic scenes, whereas fans of symphonic rock can check out Wagner’s classical masterpiece “Ride Of The Valkyries”.
How To Listen to Classical Music
Classical music can have a more profound impact on listeners than any other type of music with the proper listening approach. It’s no secret that classical music is an acquired taste, but with the right resources and guidance, you can appreciate classical music’s beauty.
You don’t need to be knowledgeable about classical music; the mere appreciation of music is enough to enjoy it. Start off by listening to famous composers like Mozart, Bach, and Beethoven. Don’t hesitate to start with their famous and most recognizable pieces.