It can be hard to not think of classical music as a little bit of a drag, especially when you compare it to the fun of pop music, the intensity of rock music, or the deep feeling of singer/songwriter music. But finding ways to engage classical music with your preferred genre can be highly beneficial to your musical skill and to your sound. Try following these three suggestions to incorporate it in an enjoyable way for you:
1. Play Classical Music on an Unexpected Instrument
Canon in D on the piano can get a little old after you’ve heard it several times, but what if you tried playing it on the electric guitar? Not only would it offer the pleasure of hearing a familiar and beautiful tune (after all, it is a classic for a reason), but it would also give a charmingly interesting sound from the timbre of the different instrument. Another good instrument to try playing a classical song on would be the bass. Check out this video below of Moonlight Sonata being played on electric guitar.
2. Incorporate Classical Instruments into Your Music
On the flip side of the last suggestion, try adding an instrument that has a more classical, symphonic sound to your song. Try to use an instrument that you would normally not think of adding. See if you can intertwine an instrument like a flute or a trombone into your music. If you want something a little less different, try using violins or a cello. OneRepublic is a great example of a successful use of violins in their music.
3. Build On a Melody from a Classical Song
Obviously the classical composers really knew their stuff, but one major thing they had under control was melody. Maybe the best example of this is Beethoven. Beethoven was the king of creating easily recognizable melodies and hammering them into people. This is likely one reason his music has lasted so long, because melody is a universal element of music. So pick out a melody of a classical song you like and then strip away everything else around it; then build it back up with your own elements. Here is an example of when the Beach Boys decided to use a melody of Bach’s for one of their songs.
These techniques may not make classical music your new favorite genre, but they’re likely to help you build a new appreciation for classical music. There’s also a good chance they’ll help you create a sound that is cool and different that you probably wouldn’t have created before.
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Kathleen Herald is a writer, literature enthusiast, and classically trained pianist. She prefers hanging out at music festivals; but, for now, writing about music in between classes will do.