Classical Music in Pop Culture

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Vassil Washington
Brian Jump
History of Music 2

Classical Music and Pop Culture

There may just be a glimpse of good news for the music front. Recently I’ve heard numerous television

commercials using pieces of classical music to display the message. Two of them, it must be stated, were

for the same product, one of those so called daily vitamins. One had a piece of Wagner - the theme from

Die Walkure – and the other accented a melody from Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte. Actual operas, please

note. And then another commercial for a table seasoning, set in a restaurant, had Bach’s BrandenBurg

Concerto No.3 playing in the background. Could it be that a couple of advertising people have determined

that pop music has lost some of its demand? I am lost in how these people go about determining what

music to use, but it seems luminous that they would want whatever they choose to support the product

image and not defer the people to whom they are trying to sell it. Yes, it is entirely possible to use music

sarcastically , and perhaps that’s what is going on here. But to use a piece of Mozart sarcastically is still to

expose the audience to a piece of Mozart, which in the normal way of things they may not encounter

anywhere else. It’s hard to see how good this is but it can’t be that bad. Except for a single double sided

cassette of Beethoven(which I accidently taped over one day) there was no classical music in the house

when I was coming up. Whatever of that type of music I heard, I heard from television. And by

“television” I don’t mean the likes of “Matlock.” No, my earliest introduction to music of the serious sort

was from the soundtrack of cartoons. The animation studios of Walt Disney and Warner Brothers, among

others drew freely on the library of fine music as background and sometimes even as foreground, as for

example when Bugs Bunny or Elmer Fudd appeared as the conductor of a symphony orchestra. Even

when Bugs was the subversive rather than the highbrow, the music came through. I didn’t hear too much in school, either which is a shame. As I recollect the musical interludes in school consisted of taking out

little books of songs and singing “Jack and Jill” and other similar songs.

Some kids played in the band and soaked up some music that way; being the class clown and lack of

interest at the time, rendered me unfit for that path. But eventually I grew an interest in the drums and

marching music, and started watching DCI(Drum Corps International), videos on YouTube.

Doesn’t it seem, though, that good music is something that might be included into the school day?

It does not have to be studied academically or formally “appreciated.” Just made available, as one might

play little league football. Start early enough, and maybe boys won’t pretend to be sick at the sound of a

violin. I’ve seen a couple of new commercials and they do succeed in making me take notice. I’m not

going to buy those vitamin or the table seasonings, but I hope those who are inclined to do so will form a

positive association with some good music. Writing this paper I was really forced to think about classical

music and not only is relevance in pop culture but also its contribution to pop culture. So I started my

research and started seeing a lot about classical music and therapy. By the minute classical music is being

incorporated into mainstream society. According to a research published in a alternative therapy medicine

issue of the Journal of Clinical Nursing, classical music can reduce psychological stress among pregnant

women. Researchers at the college nursing program at Kaohsiung Medical University conducted a study

in which they randomly assigned a group of women to classical music group and another to a country

music group. “the classical music group showed significant reductions in stress, anxiety, and...
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