Why Classical music (or whatever you want to call it) is still so important and relevant.

So, this post is going to be a little different from the usual stuff I put on here, but I felt like I needed to do it.

Music is a huge part of my life, and this is the same for so many people. Whether it’s getting lost in the magic of Grimes’s crazy dream pop that makes me want to make art and write, walking in the rain listening to Interpol, or turning out the lights late at night and putting Mozart’s Requiem on; music accompanies me through the mediocre every day and through the extraordinary moments in my life. I am an avid lover of nearly every kind of music there is, dance, house, electro, post-punk, trip-hop, alternative, rap, folk, hip hop, punk, indie, and going back to the point of this post, classical. When you say classical music, people my age (and younger/older) seem to shy away, not really want to say much about it because they feel like they don’t know it, it doesn’t touch their lives and therefore they don’t feel like they have to care. However, this just isn’t the case.

My love of music, and especially ‘classical’ (I should probably say that I hate the name classical) music, granted, is stemmed from early exposure to it from my parents. I always remember Debussy being played in my house when I was young, and in this fact, I seem to be part of a lucky minority. My dad plays the piano very well and my mum has always loved and enjoyed composers/pianists and opera so, I guess I had a kick start in loving this whole rich world of diverse classical music. But what I want to, I suppose, make clear in this post is that, just because you haven’t been directly exposed to it, does not mean it isn’t already part of your life, and therefore so so SO much easier to access, be part of, and enjoy than you would think.

Let me explain this more…

The only way I can relate this whole issue of the isolation of ‘classical’ music from all the other genre’s, and from the vast amount of people who love and enjoy music is how ‘the classics’ in Literature were, at one point, seen. For a long while, and even now to certain extent, ‘classic’ novels were for the select few – y’know, pretentious English Lit students who think the only kind of conversation worth having is about Kafka, or feminist undertones in ‘Jane Eyre’ *sigh* – now, this has been going on til really, quite recently, and then something changed everything, it opened this world of elite novels up to a wider audience and encouraged people to read them under a new light, Film. Sure, there was the 1939 ‘Wuthering Heights’ and various other black and white adaptions but, these films still feel a little out of reach to a lot of people, with the theatre-style, Shakespeareanesque acting. Yet in the last fifteen years, adaptions of all these beloved classic novels have opened them up, relieved them of their stuffy status and a constantly reviving and replenishing number of people are discovering these books again. Thanks to these more up to date re-tellings of the original story, we now see them in a current and relevant light (to name a few, Joe Wrights ‘Pride and Prejudice’, the BBC adaption of ‘Great Expectations’, Cary Fukunaga’s ‘Jane Eyre’). These stories though, however much they have been updated are still the same stories. It’s at this point that I say, there is really no difference in what has happened to classical music.

You (anyone who say’s they don’t like classical music) say you find classical music boring, you say its not for you? I say you enjoy it and find it exciting every time you watch a film, or a tv series. Whether its that favourite bit of rousing music that makes your hairs stand up in ‘The Lord of The Rings’, (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZgJYNveHOYU here’s mine) or those first few soaring string notes that fly over the grounds of the prison at the beginning of ‘The Shawshank Redemption’ (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lYGald0tFro), or heck even (this is me being a geek) the utter genius of Hans Zimmer for taking an instrumental from ‘Non, Je Ne Regrette Rian’ by Edith Piaf, super slowing it down and turning it into one of the now most recognizable pieces of music for a film ever, (a song within a song – songception) that still gives me chills every time I watch Inception and it comes rumbling in like thunder (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q0Uuv8yfXyI). Music in film is so important, it makes it what it is. Have you ever seen on the extras on a dvd, where there’s clips of raw footage in an editors room, or after the editor with the director in post production? Sure, the acting may be fantastic, the cinematography may be spot on but without that score, without that rousing music that rushes up your back, there is no comparison from without, to with. We as humans have paired music with things that entertain us for thousands of years, its part of who we are. If we only wanted to watch something beautiful, Tchaikovsky wouldn’t have written his amazing scores for ‘Swan Lake’ or ‘The Nutcracker’. We need to hear the emotion, and music evokes one of the strongest emotional/chemical chain reactions in our brain.

No, pieces of music for film aren’t as epic or huge as the Overtures or Symphonies of the ‘classical’ music world but they do the same job, and when people realize that, in exactly the same way that a film of ‘Pride and Prejudice’ with Keira Knightly in it will open up a door for a teenager into another dimension of literature, film scores can lead you very neatly into appreciating and enjoying in the same way, goosebumps and all, pieces of classical music.

I know plenty of people around my age who enjoy classical music, it would be stupid and ignorant to assume that, just because someone doesn’t play an instrument or because they haven’t had it played to them as a child, or just because they’re under 25, that they wouldn’t. But, there are also plenty of people who don’t, who don’t think it is for them, which is sad because, well, it’s brilliant. And I’m saying it is for you, all you have to do is find your own way in.

Music is like writing, and the great composers and writers will always be relevant and important. I, as a writer myself know that the great ‘classics’ of the literature world will always find a way of making their way back because, the stories they tell are so close to how we as humans experience the world. Classical music is no different, its part of how we live through life, how we connect; so whether you get there by hating most of it and then finding just one piece by Chopin or Debussy that you absolutely love then do that, just get there.


3 thoughts on “Why Classical music (or whatever you want to call it) is still so important and relevant.”

  1. Agreed. just as a slight addition, I realised many years later that much of my exposure to classical music was through cartoons such as Bugs Bunny, the Smurfs and Tom & Jerry (to name a few), it’s amazing how much of the classic were used in those. I listen to a wide variety of music, and music as old as my parents and older still resonate with me, and on the airways, while many pieces produced in the last decade have already began to fade from memory (and the airwaves)

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