In a world where rap, country, alternative and rock genres dominate the popular music charts, some may wonder if there is any room for classical music. But the relevance of classical music in today’s world cannot be mistaken: it is essential.
Although it is not commonly heard on the radio in the public places that we visit, It is our portal into history, our framework for contemporary entertainment and a tool for brain power.
That which is now called “classical” music was once the newest and most popular music. Some may regard the music of Mozart and Beethoven as old and even ancient, and rightly so, as this music is nearly 300 years old. However, at the time that their symphonies first echoed through music halls, these pieces were considered by the masses to be the latest and greatest hit songs. In our present day and age, this music serves as a window through time; a vibrant historical record of some of the greatest composers’ most important works, and the values, tastes and experiences of listeners in the time period in which they were composed.
Classical music lays the foundation for today’s most successful entertainment venues. Without it, sell-out shows and box office hits would be completely different works of art. Imagine watching the Christmas ballet “The Nutcracker” without the music. Imagine Bugs Bunny cartoons without the humorous musical effects and Merry Melodies introduction. Imagine watching your favorite movies without the dramatic symphonic music to heighten the emotion. Would the shower scene in Alfred Hitchcock’s “Psycho” have been remembered so well today in the annals of pop culture? Would all the before-mentioned gems of entertainment not be completely different experiences? Would they even be as enjoyable?
Classic music has been proven to be the music of intelligence. Recent studies have shown that listening to classical music can have lasting effects on one’s brain; it can stimulate brain function in developing infants and improve comprehension of math and other computing skills in adults. It trains the brain to acknowledge all the parts that work together to make the whole. We have, in popular culture, begun to associate classical music with a certain class of people: a class of people that is wise, calm and brimming with astonishing intellect.
What is the relevance of classical music in today’s world? It is absolutely essential. This genre, made up of songs composed hundreds of years ago, continues to serve as a historical record for the life and times of days past, a backdrop for all our favorite contemporary forms of entertainment and a trainer for our developing brains. The high riffs of the violins, the low rumble of the basses and percussion, the shout of the brass section and the call of the choir touch and tug at the heart strings of audiences now just as they did hundreds of years ago.
There is as much room for the genre now as there was back then, and as long as entertainment is a need for humans, there will be room for the genre a hundred more years from now.