Perfect Sound Forever

From Mozart to Metallica

How classical music still influences rock music today
by Alex Jones
(October 2015)

I have a challenge for you. Next time you're out and about in town, pop down to your local opera house, have a browse of the artists playing there over the following months. Once you've done that, take a walk down to your local music venue, you know the one, it'll most likely be plastered wall to wall in gig posters. Once you're there, have a peruse of the band listings, and jot down any of the acts who are playing both venues in the coming weeks. I'm willing to bet you a whole five dollars (paid in installments across the next decade) that you won't find a single artist appearing in both.

"But Alex" I hear you cry. "Of course there wouldn't be a cross over, these types of artists belong in two different worlds. Stop wasting our time." AHA! That's where you're wrong my quick to retort amigo. I'm here to show you that rock and roll and classical are very much relatives in an, albeit, diverse musical family. First off, the sort of person who enjoys classical music is the same sort of person who would enjoy metal or heavy rock music. Research by scientists at Heriot-Watt University has found that not only are peoples' personalities linked to their taste in music classical and heavy metal listeners often have very similar dispositions.

"The general public has held a stereotype of heavy metal fans being suicidally depressed and a danger to themselves and society in general," explained Adrian North, the professor who led the study. "But they are quite delicate things. Metal fans, like classical listeners, tend to be creative, gentle people, at ease with themselves. We think the answer is that both types of music, classical and heavy metal, have something of the spiritual about them they're very dramatic a lot happens. " Secondly, some of the greatest rock music ever made has been inspired by classical music. The Guardian newspaper has written a great piece on the modern pop stars that channel the antics of the musical virtuosos from a bygone era. From Bright Eyes track "Road to Joy" taking cues from Beethoven, to Elvis Presley's famous ballad "I Can't Help Falling in Love With You" using the melody of "Plaisir D'Amour" by Martini, some of the greatest rock stars to have graced this earth have lifted melodies from classical pieces of the past. Just take a look at some of these examples below.

Fall Out Boy "The Phoenix" (borrowing from Dmitri Shostakovich's Fourth Symphony)

Aerosmith "Cryin'" (using the chord progression of Pachelbel's Canon)

And it's not a one-way street either! Modern rock classics have been the inspiration for many an incredible classical version, as these examples below prove. 2CELLOS "Hysteria" (Muse cover)

Cairn String Quartet "Bodies In Flight" (Biffy Clyro cover)

So, let's recap. The same type of person is scientifically proven to enjoy both types of music AND they help inspire one another to create further pieces. A match made in heaven? Well it would seem that way, yes. Even the musical output of 2015 so far would suggest that rock music is still very much in love with the classical way of doing things. From bringing orchestras into the recording studio, to reworking classical pieces for the 21st century, the rock/classical marriage is here to stay for a while longer.

I'll leave you with a couple of top tracks released this year that have a classical edge to them.

Enter Shikari "There's a Price on Your Head"

Muse "The Globalist"

See Alex Jones' homepage at

Bookmark and Share

Check out the rest of PERFECT SOUND FOREVER