Classical Music - A Friend of Rock and Pop

Influence is widespread

Classical music certainly has an influence on many aspects of society. This includes music, movies, poetry, commercials, and culture in general. Many artists, whether they play rock, pop, jazz, hip hop, or other types of music, implement various components of classical music in their work. In a way, every kind of music is related to the music that preceded it. Rock and roll was heavily influenced by blues and country music. It also drew from folk, jazz, and classical.

Much can be learned from the Baroque period

Many rules of music theory were developed during the Baroque period of 1600-1750. This period included composers such as Bach, Handel, and Vivaldi. These rules are just as relevant today as they were back then. Included are theories concerning chords, scales, note patterns, and chord progressions. A lot of musicians learn from these theories, and then implement the knowledge. The modern piano was invented during the Baroque period by Bartolomeo Cristofori of Italy. So anyone playing a piano or listening to piano music is connected to the Baroque period.

Rock musicians utilize classical music

Throughout the decades, many rock and rollers have taken bits and pieces from classical music, and inserted its knowledge and technique into their own style of play. The following artists borrowed from classical music for at least one of their songs. This includes Elvis Presley, The Ventures, The Toys, Procol Harem, The Beatles, Emerson, Lake and Palmer, Neil Diamond, John Denver, Barry Manilow, Eric Carmen, ELO, The Beach Boys, Deep Purple, Billy Joel, Rainbow, Sting, and Green Day, who based their hit "Basket Case" on Pachelbel's Canon in D Major. Relatively new artists such as Alicia Keys are also influenced by classical music.

A big winner in 2012 is classically influenced

Adele Laurie Blue Adkins, better known just as Adele, won six Grammy awards in 2012. This tied the record for most Grammy awards in one night, including the record, song, and album of the year. Classical music was a big influence in the music of Adele. Her 2011 recording "Someone Like You" has definite similarities to the music of Franz Schubert, who was born in 1797. Schubert was an important composer of the era called "The Classical Period". I play the intro to "Someone Like You" on piano. You can hear and feel the classical influence.

Being influenced by classical music

A lot of artists from many genres are influenced by classical music. Being influenced can mean taking a note pattern from Mozart, and incorporating it into your playing style. It could be note for note, or a very similar pattern. It can also mean taking a classical chord progression, and implementing it into your playing or song writing. It can be all or part of the chord progression that is used. The possibilities are virtually endless.

I learned Bach's "Minuet in D Minor" on piano. I was influenced by the wonderful sounding note patterns. Now, when I play certain chord progressions, time permitting, there is a good chance I will play the following note pattern right before an F chord. The note pattern is C#-E-G-A#-A-G-(F-E). The notes in parentheses I added myself. Even though I might be playing rock music, I am influenced to a certain degree by classical music. You can become a better player on piano or guitar, by implementing classical note patterns or chord progressions into your own style of playing. I suggest only adding ones you really like. It can work great. A perfect example is Adele.

Gary E Kerkow has been playing guitar for several decades. This includes teaching guitar, and playing in successful bands that toured the Twin Cities area. Kerkow is also an accomplished piano player.

The Relationship of Folk Music to Classical Music

Folk music is the music of a nation, culture or ethnic group. Each such group has its own characteristics, which includes such things as behavior, food, language, history, traditions, etc. The music and dance reflect these aspects and, as aesthetics, are communicated with soul. Folk music is almost like a language that tells of the various victories, hardships, sorrows and other survival factors that have transpired, usually over centuries. This gets passed down from generation to generation, without the formalities of academics and, most often, not in written form. But it is ingrained in the hearts of its people. It tends to apply to all of its people, regardless of social statuses or classes, and is therefore embracive but unique to its group.

The melodies are usually simple and could be no more than four notes. They are often repetitive with very simple harmonies and little to no modulation to other keys. However, some can have complicated rhythmic patterns, such as West African and Indian folk music. The instruments are unique, but quite often very similar or even the same in neighboring regions, such as the Chinese sanxian and the Japanese shamisen. However, the essence of each culture's music has its own characteristic, just like language. While there are nuances of each micro-region of a nation or area, just like a language and its dialects, they each possess the unique essence of their nation or area.

Listen to a traditional Persian folk tune and then an Irish one, or a Mongolian song and then a Balinese one. You will instantly note the flavor of each one.

Being simplistic does not mean that the artistic value of folk music is lost. It has its own intrinsic aesthetic value as it comes from the soul of the people and is performed with emotion, spirit and meaning. It tells a story.

Many classical composers have incorporated the folk melodies from their own cultures to their masterpiece compositions, such as Alexander Borodin (Russian) or Aram Khatchaturian (Armenian). In such a case, one cannot look at that piece as being folk music anymore, but instead, it becomes a more refined creation. It sophisticates into something finer and more worldly as opposed to something just localized. Its aesthetic quality is of a different nature.

However, certain world-class classical composers have incorporated folk elements from other cultures outside their own to their own compositions. We hear Russian, Chinese and Spanish elements by composers who are not of those ethnicities. Inspired by various melodies, masterpieces have been created. Again, one has to look at this from another perspective.

A great analogy would be Da Vinci's The Last Supper. This is strictly a work of fine art but it is obviously inspired by ancient cultural phenomena. Though, it does not reflect the exact customs and aspects of that culture in the way folk art would. The figures of that work all possess Western European features. The bread on the table is shown as leavened. These are peculiarities, perhaps even anachronisms, included by the creative license of the artist, which immediately show this work to be one of a fine art composition and not just a cultural artifact. The same principle may happen in music too, as in any other form of art.

Folk music is one of the key essences of a people, and is the aesthetic beauty that binds a culture. And this has expanded into being a major influence on music of an international level, which makes it even more special.

Classical Music

Classical music, like other forms of classical art, has not as many takers as those of light music. Nonetheless, classical music has its fans too and lots more are falling to its charms. Yet, those who turn to it often find it rather beyond their understanding and real appreciation. They are charmed by it, but they cannot critically explain why it appeals them. You cannot rationalize its appeal or beauty.

Another reason why a large majority of people are not very comfortable with classical music is its complexity and a sense of distance from the artist. Light music can be easily sung by ordinary artists with whom ordinary listeners can identify easily. It expresses the feelings of ordinary persons in their own language. Classical music, on the other hand, is rather mysterious and is rendered in diverse styles and it takes years, sometimes a life long time to understand .But its study has its rewards too. The more you study it, the more you enjoy it and the more you find it wonderful and worth the effort and hard work to study it.

The study or appreciation of classical music depends upon your individual taste. A form of music that appeals to you may not appeal to another person. You may come across experts who may try to influence you by their judgments about the quality of music. You may listen to them, but you should not compel yourself to like the music that they like. Or if you come across a much-acclaimed piece of music that you cannot really appreciate, you do not have to blame yourself for not liking it. You may of course try to find out why the particular expert likes a given piece of music. May be, you find some point to learn.

The most important thing about classical music is to listen to it as much as you can. Classical music CDs are available from many sources. If you are a student, your college library may have an abundant stock of classical music CDs. You can listen to radio, watch TV, and go to concerts and recitals. You can also get free downloads from the Internet, if you do not want to spend money.

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Stimulate Your Brain with Classical Music

I'll always remember my dad saying that he loved listening to birdsong early in the morning. The singing centered him in a way that I didn't understand at the time.

Now I know why he felt so refreshed.

Birdsong is a high frequency sound - around 5,000 hertz. Any sound between 5,000 and 8,000 hertz has been found to recharge our brain's batteries.

You know what else is amazing?

5,000 hertz is also the frequency that energizes plants. In fact plants showed a 700 percent increase in efficiency of absorbing nutrients when exposed to high frequency classical music. This frequency actually helps the little pores on the plant's leaves called stomata to open up.

And who says nature doesn't have a plan. That's why you'll find that in areas that don't have a lot of birds singing, there's not a lot of plant growth either.

Lots of birds equals lots of plants. Few birdsongs means not a whole lot of greenery. Now I know why we moved from Los Angeles to Asheville, North Carolina - we wanted birds and trees in our life.

Have you ever entered a room that has a weird or uncomfortable feeling about it? You might just be getting uncomfortable because of low frequency sound waves.

The lowest of those are called infrasound. They're produced by machines such as vehicles, household equipment and heating and cooling systems. It's been known for some time that these low frequency waves can cause symptoms such as nausea, headaches, fatigue, insomnia, vibration of internal organs and a feeling of oppression.

On the other hand, certain high frequency sounds literally energize your mind. Scientists have found that sounds from 5,000 to 8,000 hertz recharge your brain's batteries.

If your CD collection includes music by Mozart, Baroque Music or even Tibetan Chants, keep listening. In numerous studies, these sounds have been found to charge the cortex of the brain and stimulate health and wellness.

At 120-125 hertz you begin to hear the kick drums and bass guitar common to rock music. These lower frequencies produce the opposite effect - they drain us.

Why is this?

Because they have wave-lengths longer than we are tall, which is why lower frequencies are FELT as well as heard. You can feel this low frequency full-body sensation at dance clubs and rock concerts. Or from listening to most FM radio stations.

Since we are mostly exposed to low frequency sounds in the media, I strongly suggest you balance your brain and body by listening to high frequency classical music at least once a day. It's easy and effortless - and great for you.

Here's to your sound health.

Copyright 2006 Tania French

Composer Tania Gabrielle French has enjoyed performances and radio broadcasts of her music worldwide by Grammy Award winning artists. Her popular newsletter tells all about the secret effect of music on your mind and body. Subscribe now at © 2006 Tania Gabrielle French. All Rights Reserved.