"popular classics" style

Edited: November 21, 2018, 5:18 PM ·

I think that there's a need to define a new musical (and art in general) style-
"Popular Classics".

Let's admit it - Classical Music is beutiful, very professional etc. But not so "catchy" and easy to hear in many cases:
For example, pop music lovers can tell immediately hundreds of pieces that they really love, average classical music lovers, even players, can probably say just several, dozens it good case. And not even a full pieces in many cases.

And it affects very much all classical music world - people don't go to concerts, it has economical and other impacts.

So the idea of "Classical Pop" is to combine "Catchyness" with "High level professionalism", both musical and technical proffesionalism.

So i can define few ideas for such style:
1. The music should be catchy as possible, And easy to listen to.
2. High level, "Classical" level performances. Both musically and technically.
3. You can edit the classical pieces as you wish- cut parts, merge, even glue different pieces etc. In order it to be catchy.
4. New instruments are legitimate (as long as the high level professionalism is maintained).

**If you wish you can give more ideas for rules**

People and classical artists do it and did it before in different occasions, but here is the idea to define it as style. Because in "serious" classical music many of this things aren't exactly common or legitimate.

Here are several examples for pieces that can be defined as "Classical Pop" in my view:

"Tico Tico" - played by Berlin Philharmonical:

"Waltzing Matilda"- ray chen:

What do you think about it?
Personally i started it already, by making high level renditions for popular songs, and by "Editing" the classical pieces that i play.

Replies (12)

November 22, 2018, 12:00 AM · Everyone is free to play music they like the way they like it. Personally I prefer to stay with the complex, deep and wonderful pieces that great composers have contributed over the centuries.

But as I said: Feel free!

November 22, 2018, 1:01 AM · The era of the salon classics was a great one, in my opinion. Listen to Alfred Campoli play practically anything.
November 22, 2018, 2:58 AM · Albrecht zumbrunn
But it will still be defined as classical music? A "serious" one?
If you, for example, "Glue" different parts of different classical pieces and making changes?

Let's say the tico tico here, is it considered as serious classical music?

November 22, 2018, 3:04 AM · And even more important:
Are the musicians that work on this pieces take it seriously as the work onclassical "serious" music? As bach or mozart?
Edited: November 22, 2018, 4:54 AM · On the whole it's a fusion that I hate.

In addition to going back to classical, I would like to play some modern things on the violin. There was a quartet or a quintet attempting rock music at a gig I was at a while back, and they were awful because they hadn't understood that in rock music the main beats in the measure are 2 and 4, not 1 and 3. And Menuhin was crap at imitating Grapelli. It's important also to get the shuffle rhythm right. I have made a mental note to study this violin style separately, but I'm not sure yet if all it takes is mental awareness of the differences and a feel for it, or if bowing with a shuffle rhythm has technical requirements too.

I should also mention syncopation. It just occurred to me that involved in syncopation may be louré/portato bowing. On second thoughts, probably not, but if Menuhin attempted it, maybe that kind of over-analysis is one of the ways he went wrong? I haven't listened to his "Gypsy jazz" attempts for many decades and don't want to again, but maybe I should.

I don't particularly want to do "Gypsy jazz" myself - I believe it's a fake genre: - it just means imitating the Hot Club de France; "magical realism" just means imitating Marquez, and so on.

Tico Tico is the kind of thing that has been done by orchestras for a long time - it's what my parents' generation listened to in the Sixties - James Last, and so on. My main objection to it is the professionalism - the lack of percussiveness and grittiness. It's the same with modern Salsa - they use synthesisers!

Waltzing Matilda is "trad" (in spite of its more or less known history) (and a ballad), so it's open to all treatments, isn't it?

Edited: November 23, 2018, 12:05 AM · David, the name isn't that important. You can call it classical pop if you like; it is not a bad name at all.

You seem to describe two distinct "genres" though: The first is the incorporation of folk music elements into "high" classical music. This has been done for centuries. Haydn used Gipsy fiddler music in some works (e.g. quartet op. 20/5 the last two movement, the so-called "Gipsy" piano trio etc.). Brahms and many others had "Hungarian" movements in some works. Chopin wrote polonaises, Dvorak and Smetana built whole careers out of Czech flavored music. Smilarly the Russian "mighty five". Many in the 20th century used ideas from jazz or also from folk music (Bartok, Kodaly). Obviously there is nothing wrong with any of this.

The second genre is the James Last shtick: Dumbed down classics. And here I have to say I prefer the originals.

Edited: November 23, 2018, 1:35 AM · "the incorporation of folk music elements into "high" classical music"
Yes, I wanted to talk about that, but didn't know enough about it, and Bartok was difficult to apply to this thread. You've put it very well.
November 25, 2018, 12:36 AM · What do you think about something like that?

It is "Hard rock" on electric violin,
But at preety high musical level.
I think you can include it in "Classical Pop" too.

"4. New instruments are legitimate (as long as the high level professionalism is maintained)".

Edited: November 25, 2018, 6:19 AM · If you like the "classical pop" style, go for it! But I don't think any musician should play in a style they are not actually passionate about, just so the music will be more "catchy" and therefore "accessible" for an imaginary audience. I will share my experience of busking for over two years which I think is relevant to this topic because I am playing for random ordinary people every day who may or may not have knowledge of classical music--the "general public" that we might all have in mind in these types of discussions. When I first started doing this, I got lots of well-meaning advice from people who told me that I HAVE to play music people recognize, can tap their foot to, I have to simplify (dumb things down), can't play anything too serious, etc. Now, I don't hate all recognizable music, I happen to love for example Vivaldi's four seasons which is very well-known and popular. So I play that when I busk. But I don't play anything I don't like, because I figure if I'm just doing something "for the money" I might as well work at a bank, or McDonald's, or something I'm equally unpassionate about, and I don't for example try to play Pachelbel's canon by myself because that's ridiculous (its a canon!) and goes against my principles, even though people request it all the time. I mostly play unnaccompanied Bach pieces, which I absolutely love, and doing it makes sense to me because these pieces are truly written for the violin to play alone. These are not commonly considered popular or accessible pieces, yet people respond to me playing them-- I've always had good feedback, people enjoy it even when they admit they don't know anything about classical music. And I'm not some amazing musician--I'm ok--but I really think that people pick up on the fact that I'm doing exactly what I want to be doing in that moment, and they respond positively to that. I think that people truly enjoy seeing others following what they really want--don't underestimate audiences and their powers of perception! Of course there are always people who yell at me to play Pachelbel and Oasis (!) Fur Elise (on violin...ugh!!!) but thats sort of the lowest common denominator...and to be clear I'm NOT thinking of the highest common denominator as necessarily the educated elite who "understand" "real classical music". No, there's another group of people out there who have a good understanding of whats important in life and who can recognize and appreciate passion. It's about having empathy and curiosity, not just demanding to have the things that you already know repeated to you over and over again in a soothing manner. And yes, I make good money doing this, but I mostly attribute that to the fact that people sense I'm not doing it FOR the money. So I think the first step is not to think about what "audiences" want, but what YOU want, and the audience will come. It might sound corny, but it has worked for me.
November 27, 2018, 4:21 PM · Come to think of it: "Popular classic" has been around a long time. Think Offenbach, Johann Strauss, Sousa or the Boston Pops.
November 27, 2018, 6:31 PM · ...
Andre Rieu.
Try to suppress your gagging.
November 27, 2018, 6:54 PM · Hey, don't knock Rieu - he's the most famous cheese ever to come out of Holland.

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