Skip to content

Classical and contemporary music – points of contact

Classical and hard rock, classical and rap, classical and jazz – are they compatible? One gets the feeling that these trends are opposed to each other. But what separates them – a chasm or something unknowable? And how did this division come about? Can classical and contemporary styles of music coexist? The questions are countless and sometimes require an answer. If we assume that these are two sides of the same river, the point of contact becomes obvious. And yet, what separates classical and contemporary movements in music, and do they have these points of contact? Or are we talking about nothing?

The grandeur of the classics

A standard is always perceived as something positive. And a classic is a reference. And it doesn’t matter at all what emotions this music evoked when it was written. Although emotions, aspirations and meanings were different in former times as well. Did Mozart think about the fact that he was creating a standard? No, he was just creating, creating his music. It was his soul, his feelings and perceptions. But creativity was always preceded by labor and strain of thought. They are what made the music sound this way and not that way. So classical music is a combination of knowledge, inspiration, struggle and tension.

Over time, the standard has become elitist, forming invisible boundaries. An idle onlooker cannot cross them unless… Unless he is attuned to the same wave (apart from his desire), and is not quite aware of his aspirations, which can happen.

Elite music requires tuxedo, soulfulness and simplicity at the same time. Not everyone dares to cross the border, although no one is forbidden to enter here.

Classical music has been nurtured by time. Its birth is like the blowing of the wind, that is, its origins were quite organic. This music became a classic thanks to the cutting of “wild rocks”. But there remained in it the old soulfulness, tragedy and rock. So when you’re going through someone’s passing, you listen to Lacrimosa, which helps you get through something that’s hard to deal with alone. Classical music gives answers, that’s its meaning. Shostakovich’s Eighth Quartet is a prime example.

Modern genres are quite different, but they did not emerge by chance.

The Origins of Rock and Jazz

Modern trends in music are easier to hear. You don’t have to burden yourself with the meaning, because there is a rhythm. That’s what makes it easier to understand. It’s also the basis of jazz and rock. But where did they get that rhythm that makes it echo to the beat literally. If you draw an invisible thread from modernity to the past, the origins are easy to find. This thread leads to the African tribes, to their rituals, in which it was the rhythm that dominated. In every movement and even in its hint. That is, the connection to paganism, and therefore to antiquity, is obvious. “That’s how you start looking at family portraits…”.

However, these rhythms did not become classics because they were not fed by inspiration. They are based on ethnicity. Listening to the rhythms of rock music, you don’t experience your pain with someone else, but you forget about it, immersing yourself in a space that is unfamiliar to you. But as you merge with it, you begin to feel a kinship.

The Emergence of Rap

Rap also has a special rhythm, as do its roots in the tradition of the griots, the wandering African storytellers. Often it is rap that makes a great deal of sense. But for the most part, it is a tool, or rather, a kind of mouthpiece. Rap is necessary where you need to get the message across. To make it heard. It’s hard to find a more powerful instrument for that.

Points of contact

The main point of convergence of all these directions is music. Yes, classical, rap, rock, and jazz are all music that requires skill, knowledge, and mastery. It would be unwise to diminish the importance of either. Classical, as a benchmark, is a priority. It is the one that teaches the basics, mastering which a musician can create a masterpiece jazz tune or a great rock composition. Freddie Mercury played the piano brilliantly, which leads us to the conclusion: there would be no classical music, there would be no Freddie.

Some people are intimidated by the slang of certain rappers, even irritated. But it’s not easy here either. Yes, many raise questions, but it’s interesting. The uninitiated, for example, are annoyed by Chopin’s music. Those who haven’t dared to step over the threshold. But that doesn’t detract from Chopin’s music.

Every tree produces its own fruit

Let’s make an analogy with flowers. It’s a very different world today. Not the one of a hundred, two hundred, or a thousand years ago. The reason is obvious: the cultivation of plants. The same thing is happening in music. Mankind is rapidly moving forward, changing everything in its path. Music is changing, too. But the standards must remain, otherwise man will break away from the roots and perish. But different music has its own, special roots. Thanks to them it acquires a rhythm and tone. So every tree produces its own fruit. But all trees grow on the earth, nourished by its bounty and moisture.

Evgenia Shavyrkina