Although classical music has had a reputation at times for being old-fashioned or difficult to get into, it has become clear in recent years that the classical genre has a widespread influence on music, pop culture and people in general. Many artists use elements of classical music in their work, and some choose to quote or replicate it directly.
Some people claim that classical music has a positive influence on the brain development of infants. Although there isn’t any real scientific evidence to support a direct connection, there are a few positive incidental effects of playing classical music in the home for a baby. Babies tend to fall asleep faster when listening to soothing music, and sleep is beneficial for child brain development. In addition, if the other members of the household enjoy the music, the baby’s environment will probably be happier and more peaceful.
Classical music directly influences pop culture. For example, Walter Murphy’s disco hit “A Fifth of Beethoven” samples Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5. "Ode to Joy," also composed by Beethoven, has become a ubiquitous piece of music on television and in movies. The simple melody of "Ode to Joy" is often one of the first things a beginning instrumentalist learns to play. Early rock 'n' roll icon Chuck Berry released his famous song titled "Roll Over Beethoven" as a single in 1956. While referencing classical composers such as Beethoven and Tchaikovsky, Berry's hit song emphasized the need for rhythm and blues to take the place of classical compositions.
Classical music has had an enormous influence on modern music, both in the mainstream and more obscure corners. Many bands and artists display a clear classical music influence in their work, from hip hop artists like Kanye West (who drew many of his early string samples from classical string ensembles and a collaboration with the film composer John Brion) to rockers like Led Zeppelin or Muse, and more experimental artists such as Max Richter, Godspeed You Black Emperor Mono and Mogwai. Muse, in particular, announced in March 2009 that its next album would be mainly orchestral and a "classical act." The lead singer of Muse, Matt Bellamy, has also pointed to the compositions of Sergei Rachmaninoff as a strong influence on his music.
Many of the rules of music theory, developed in the Baroque period by composers like Bach, are still in use today. Theories about the ways in which chords, scales and notes interact are relevant and used at least to some extent by all but the most experimental composers and bands.
Fans of classical music often talk about the capabilities of classical music to emotionally move and influence the listener. Many people report feeling happier and more calm after listening to only a few minutes of classical music. Of course, this might depend on the composer and the listener; most people will find Beethoven or Handel more calming than Wagner or Stravinsky.
- Can Classical Music Influence the Intelligence of Your Baby?
- New Harvard Dictionary of Music;Don Michael Randel;1986
- A Collector's Guide to the Music of Chuck Berry