Classical music for children, classical music for adults ... but, what actually is classical music? This website is an easy start for all those who do not know yet whether they ever will want to love classical music one day. Plus, on one of the three pages of this website, there is the only list in the world that offers 300 light, popular, cool classical works from around 350 years of music history. These three pages of my website are very probably the most entertaining introduction to the topic and the coolest "getting to know" option since classical music has been around. Not "just in time", not turbo fast and not immediately "to the point", but in such a way that it can only be enjoyed with a reasonable amount of time, namely as great entertainment, with background information and fun ... decelerated to the maximum and not "explaining in one sentence" at all. You are welcome to expect ... on the second page ... many dreamlike melodies, which you ... if you are only old enough ... already have heard somewhere and at some point: Much joy and fun with classical music ... that is the motto of this so absolutely different website.
Classical music for children and beginners, pedagogues and parents: That's right, these gentlemen above are undoubtedly associated with the topic of "classical music". They are the superstars in this music genre. However, enjoying classical music, that is much more than exploring uncool, for some boring and ancient music from long-dead composers.
Are you a very conservative fan of classical music? And popular classical music is almost an imposition for you? Do you – for example – reject André Rieu and his way of presentation? Then please read about our philosophy on the way to classical music here. And why Mr. Rieu was and is so important for our project can be found here.
This website is very unusual. Because there are enough usual websites. In general, this internet offer, which is my answer to the question "What is classical music?" is much more reading, pastime, and entertainment than a precise, short, sharp answer, which does not exist to this question anyway. And already here I turn to all visitors, who actually only want to examine how I answer "What is classical music?" and know it themselves for a long time: I offer this completely "outside the box", that is "cross-knitted. As in my opinion, it doesn't work any other way on any other website. In case of doubt, let's have a different opinion. Tchaikovsky also said back then: "I guess I can say that I like to play Bach because playing a fugue is entertaining, but I do not see in him a great genius... ". Okay, but there are also 66 statements from Bach enthusiasts who believe that Bach was indeed the greatest, and that ranges from the prestigious New York Times newspaper via Mozart, Beethoven, Pope Benedict XVI, and Albert Einstein.
There is another thing that is very important to me: Maybe you are still much too young for some of the texts here on this website, or you are long past that age if my texts are designed to address very young kids. And you, whether you are 20 or 85, may feel almost taken for a ride in many passages. In addition, the loose, fluffy, often silly style. You're right: It's getting pretty intense. On the other hand, it is hardly possible to explain something so exciting and challenging for all age groups ... and that is only on one web presence. What about all my "nonsense and baloney" all over the site? Well, otherwise I wouldn't have had any fun and this website would have never been created. Then this, my explanation would have been missing to the world what classical music really is. Plus, my "Classical Music Top 100" would have never been created ... and it really is an ultimate one of a kind and the almost only way into popular, light, entertaining classical music. My sincere request for your understanding! Thank you.
By Peter Bach, Jr.
The first section here addresses children, students, and teenagers: Don't argue with your grandfather, with your uncle, who is an excellent and maybe even professional musician himself, or with your parents, who love classical music and listen to it even when you are all together at home. If this topic comes up (... what actually classical music is ...), better send them all to this, my website, because they won't agree with you about what classical music actually is. I know it because I have tried it out with several classical music lovers. What it is – classical music, that is classic – is what you can find out here. On this website you'll also find a really cool way to get closer to classical music and a "manual" if you would like to want to love classical music (... I know ...!) one day ... besides current music, of course.
This second paragraph here is aimed at teachers, especially music teachers, parents, and conservative classical music fans: It is indeed a "minefield" to explain classical music, because somehow "all two" parties are right. Which "all two" parties are will now be explained on this page.
And in general ... if you are really looking for classical music works especially for children, then I believe that there are practically none (... well, those who know a few works, will wince, however ... this is not how all top ten results in all search engines are understood). The exception? Of course ... Brahmsen's* "Lullaby or Cradle Song"! Und "Peter and the Wolf". All other offers, that is "The most beautiful ..." and "The best ..." are usually just pieces of music that a music publishing house or a blogger or an editor has put together and wants to sell to the parents of this young consumer group under the "cool" marketing title "Classical Music for Children" (... of course, this only applies to the lists of publishers). * I know ... actually, it's Brahms' "Lullaby or Cradle Song" ... but that's how the whole page goes on now... because... that's me!
Finally, on a very personal note: If you are a Bach fan or if you are interested in Bach, I recommend my project and the website "Bach on Bach" to you. For kids, I have also designed the website "Johann Sebastian Bach for Children". Welcome also there. So please hold on tight, be very brave, and ... we have to get through this together now:
There Is Classical Music and All Other Music. Then It Applies (... Actually), That if It Is Not “Other Music”, Then It Is Classical Music!*
Picture Frame © Freesurf / Fotolia
This is Hans Bach, the "funny-
maker" from back then. Today
I am the joker in the family.
Do you mean this above is nonsense? Well ... you can only have that opinion when you already know what classical music is. Or if you are a classical music fan. And yes, the definition above is a little silly, but... that's me, as I said. But seriously now: All "serious" hits on Google don't manage to explain in one or two sentences or a short paragraph in a reasonable and correct way what classic is, respectively what classical music is. That's why I have "tinkered" this, my website. On three pages, you can get a feeling for what classical music is. Really not "to the point". And maybe, you won't be able to explain it to others after your reading and listening to 300 examples. But ... you can send interested people right here!
* How often, and how long have I thought about whether this sentence above, is not too silly, too strange, and too provocative!? For sure for two years. Again and again. And finally, I find – at the last completion of this corresponding English page, and the final check of the links – an offer that beats mine in the awareness substantially: "Classics for Kids". And what does the first line there say? "The term classical is often used to describe music that is not rock, pop, jazz, or any other style". Bingo, bingo! That's how I love it when I find my own challenging statements confirmed in other and more established places. Here's the link to it.
© drubig-photo / Fotolia.com
For the picture above: Grandma and grandpa will shake their heads when they read my definition of classical music, dad and mom will find that in this case – if I could not convince them – at least the means serve the end and for you, there is no better instruction on the internet, nor anywhere else in the world, how to understand classical music or classic (... these are two terms for the same thing). Even if you have to read a little. But you do that anyway on the side and on the go or when you are bored.
These are the only three superstars that lived in the classical epoch and composed classical music. But what about Bach and Handel? They lived in the Baroque era and also composed classical music?!
It would be easy to explain if it wasn't a terrible play on words if it wasn't even a "quibble" (... "quibble"... what a strange word!). Because first, the classic era or classicism is a period of time that was named much later (... long after you lived in it) to categorize music styles, building styles, and art styles into epochs. But classic is also another word for "classical music". Now it is especially important to determine what exactly you are talking about.
Maybe, you already know, I am a guy from Germany, the homeland of Bach and Beethoven, List and Wagner, Handel and Brahms. And German is my mother language. When preparing this English website I was wondering, whether the development in the English language took the same way as in German. Germans say “I love classical music” or alternatively “I love classic” (... noun without an “s”). I was confused because I found half a dozen results in the alternative option such as "Classic FM" and "Classics Today" plus "Warner Classics" plus "Classic 4 Kids" and some more. How good, we have family and friends in the US whom I could ask and almost all of them suggested “Peter, go with “I love classical music”. So I will follow that advice and I thank you so much … Andy, Debbie, Doug, Elli, Fran, Marilyn, Nancy, and Shirley (… in alphabetical order). Plus, I try to change the language just a little by using the word "classic", too. Language changes over time, and that is especially true in America. So why not state "I love classic" like it's common in Germany?! By the way, did you know, that Germans call their cell phone "Handy" because you hold it in your hand?
So, you say "I love classical music" and that means that you like to listen to Bach, Beethoven, Verdi, Wagner and the many, many other experts, but also to the works, conducted by Karajan or played by Glenn Gould or composed by the American composer Sousa. Some classical music works are 350 years old, some were composed only 20 years ago. Approximately. If you ask someone which music he or she prefers to listen to, he or she will answer "classical music" or alternatively "classic" (... no "s"), if he or she likes classical music best. This is clearly what it is commonly meant today because the radio station "Classic FM" or "WQXR - New York's Classical Music Radio Station" play works by all the masters mentioned above and many more. For very young readers, it is best to read this whole page again tomorrow and then the day after tomorrow, to get it better. Because it is really very complicated. But it is also very worthwhile to know about it very well. So, off to the explanation.
No, not at all! And why does it matter? Because I like to solve arguments. If one divides many millions of years into epochs, and musical creation is also part of each of these, then there are several epochs, in other words, periods of time, around the super composer Johann Sebastian Bach, of which I would like to introduce seven extremely briefly. By the way, Bach was born roughly exactly 333 years ago. And Bach lived in the Baroque era. Before that, the epoch was called the Renaissance, before that the Middle Ages and before that Antiquity and so on through the era of Lucy and the extinction of the dinosaurs back to the Big Bang. Bach lived and composed at the end and at the same time the climax of the Baroque. His sons then lived and composed in the Classical Epoch. This era was followed by the art and building epoch of Romanticism and finally, in 1910, the era of New Music began. In fact, it's actually partially not all that new today. Of course, we still live in this era of New Music today, which is why the epochs, especially those of the classical period, are even divided into "smaller morsels". Our time at the beginning of the 3rd millennium will probably only be properly "provided" with a name in many, many years. Now and for us, it is the present: World War I was not yet called World War I during World War I. But only after World War II.
There is no classical composer who is honored with more monuments than Bach. There are 33 tributes all over the world: Bach monuments and Bach plaques.
If you now distribute the really great composers to the different epochs, then you will find out that in the classical period (... exactly in the epoch called "Classical Era") there were only three "mega composers". Namely, Haydn, Beethoven, and Mozart. And that is exactly what leads to this argument with a classical music lover. Because the one music fan means with "classical music" the music genre, just called "classical music" or "classic". And this also includes the works of composers of the Baroque Period and the Romantic Period and other eras. But the other classic fan means exactly and only those three masters, who lived and composed in this classic era. Well ... and also a few more unknown composers.
If you ask the question (... the headline) like this, you are certainly not yet an insider, but – on this topic – often even less informed than a classical music beginner. And you'd best ask someone who knows. But who do you think knows about it? Now you certainly don't want to inform yourself about time epochs, but you want to know if Lady Gaga also makes classical music, or Justin Bieber, Simon & Garfunkel, or Frank Sinatra (... the last two are mentioned for older visitors of this website). Or just Wagner, Mozart, Handel, and those "colleagues". So you are interested in the music genre in the sense of the offer of the radio station "Classic FM" or the US authority "WQXR – New York's Classical Music Radio Station".
Classical music is first of all not only the music of the three superstars Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven. Who all three lived in the classical period. In the spirit of your question! Classical music is what remains when you take away everything that is not classical music. It sounds strange, silly, nonsensical, and not very meaningful. Exactly! And that's why there is the challenge here and now, namely to find exactly the answer to how exactly classical music can be described.
So we could approach the answer and thus the definition in a similar way as my Dad advised me to orientate myself on the interstate when there were no GPS systems around for a long time, and you could not find out which lane under the sign gantry on the freeway was the right one without looking at the road map (... a huge folded piece of paper which was useful back then). He said that if it is not clear where the right lane leads to, you have to quickly clarify where you definitely do not want to go. And in this sense, classical music is all music that is not no classical music. Cool? Cool. So you have to find out, for better or worse, how to recognize classical music. Not a simple answer, not a clear answer, but pedagogically and entertainingly prepared by me with a lot of effort and fun for you.
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There once was – and many people like to explain it this way even today – so-called "E" music. "E" for entertainment. And there was "S" music, which is "S" for serious. But this ... did not establish itself, not even to define the difference "almost by force". Precisely because it's so complicated.
This "E" and this "S" is no good, because then "S" music, which is serious music, would not be entertaining. Tell that to a classical music fan (... we have learned that a classical music fan is not a lover of the works of Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven, but a fan of all classical music ... from the Renaissance via the Classical Period to classical works that are still being composed today and will be in the future). So it is of course already nonsense to define classical music as not entertaining (... therefore not "E"). Let's come to the "S". Well, here it works a little better because few and only selected music that is created today is serious ("S"). Rihanna is clearly "E", Madonna is also for the most part "E" and the whole "schlager" industry (... in Germany and not to translate "to the point") and folk music is as well all "E". By the way, I would also like to publish something, exciting for everyone, who hasn't just recently found classical music cool: Did you know that there were and are 811 German classical composers, 355 in the USA, 23 Chinese, 133 Japanese, but only one female classical composer in the "Top 100 League"? Namely, Clara Schumann, by the way, the wife of Robert Schumann, whom she met when she was eight years old.
Nevertheless, the following is true: Musical works that are clearly assigned to "E" music can also be "S", meaning that their texts are serious. Sometimes. And nevertheless, they entertain. Especially in English music works, an enormous number of texts and thus works are "serious". Just a few examples of many are the protest songs of the 70s of the last century, protest songs against the Vietnam War, the song against hunger in Africa, or – later – the masterpiece by Pink against the Gulf War of 2006 ("Dear Mr. President"). But to make things a bit more complicated, they are therefore not "S".
So we realize: "E" and "S" as an explanation are absolutely not a good tool to explain a difference or what exactly classical music is. Or when music is classical music.
Complicated, complicated. Otherwise, I wouldn't have created a special website explicitly for you, for music teachers, for other teachers, for pedagogues, for music school teachers, musicians, and all parents. So, again: highly complicated, highly complicated. You can't explain it simply, so I mean: simply in the sense of only in one sentence or maybe in two sentences. So, that you can also explain it:
Quite nebulously, you could start with the fact that you recognize it when you hear classical music. In contrast to (... and there we go again with the foundation from above) non-classical music. But how can you explain it when you read here? Differently. Sit in your parents' car. Ask mom or dad to turn on the ignition ... and of course, it works at home. But it's best if you do it in a car. Then click through the range of stations, but hide the hint of the name of the station you are listening to at the moment. Always click on "Next". So you click and listen to the offer of these radio stations for a few seconds. This piece of music and that piece of music. Probably only exactly twice, you will hear completely different music than on all the other channels. If this is not the case, then try it again. Or wait five minutes and then ...
Surely you have clicked twice into a classical music offer and if that is the case, then you have very quickly realized that exactly that ... that must be classical music. Cool explained? No, but... it works. And that is only the first approach to tackling such a complex topic. By the way: What you hear, there is absolutely no music like I recommend you to listen to! On the contrary: What you hear there from these classical radio stations will not at all please you, because it is for "more intensive classical music lovers". In case of doubt, you will never become one. And you won't have to, to enjoy cool, light classical music.
Next: Classical music and non-classical music also tend to differ in live performance. You tend to associate classical music with a concert hall rather than an open-air performance. But for heaven's sake: There are dozens of examples where it's the other way around. On the "Waldbühne" in Berlin you can enjoy both types of music in the open air, André Rieu* presents a delicacy of popular classical music (... "popular classical music" ... what is that now?. You can read it here on 63 pages ... however you first have to translate it ... or you can read it in a short form at my place later...) on the huge romantic Vrijthof in Maastricht in the Netherlands and rock concerts can of course also take place on very conservative stages like the Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg, Germany. The information and the explanation between the lines? One associates, that is, one connects classical music more with a dignified stage environment, non-classical music more with a fluffy, relaxed atmosphere. * By the way, if you dislike Rieu so completely, please click here.
What is classical music? What is classic? Because there is no precise explanation on these three of my pages ... and this is also not the case anywhere on the internet ... with this picture above you get an impression of artists who perform classical music. Especially the instruments are noteworthy, their number and the clothing of the artists and the conductor. More on each below.
André Rieu (... and again: If you don't like him at all or maybe even can't stand him, please click here and now!) ... for Renate, my wife and me he is the superstar "towards classical music". It took me 50 years to realize: He delivers what I was looking for. And I was looking for popular classical music. Light classical music. That what you have already heard somewhere, which you found cool, of which you didn't know how and where you could find it again, how you could collect it ... and then you forgot it again. You also have to learn to distinguish: classical music and popular classical music are two completely different pairs of boots. And totally uncool: Quite beery, very conservative classical music fans often just don't want to understand that you can also get real pleasure from a "light edition of their world". Completely relaxed and with a lot of fun. Upfront: Only 20 percent of all works in my list of the most popular classical works are performed by Rieu, however, this paragraph is about the likable Dutchman. Go to a concert with André Rieu, his performance is easy-going. If you can stand it for two hours, then you don't need to read any further. Here you can listen to a sample piece. And on YouTube, there are more offers on the right side of the screen. For example, the undoubtedly classical work "Ode to Joy" from Beethoven's Symphony No. 9. If you can manage that, and if you really like it, then you have already understood what classical music is. And that ... was now also the explanation of what popular classical music is. Namely, well-liked classical music, as it ... yes with pleasure another piece ... Rieu also performs. In three sentences, you can read it below, instead of working through 68 pages (... more about this much further down). Maybe you dare to do the two hours only after you have done your "homework" by listening once or twice to the individual works of my "Classical Music Top 100": I don't know which are the first ten pieces in the concert of Master Rieu on TV ... maybe, quite maybe, they are the "wrong" ones, in our sense of getting to know classical music in general. And one hint is top important: Rieu does not present exclusively popular classical music. 20 to 30 percent of his repertoire are folk songs, German "schlagers", pop songs, and works that are not classical at all, and we don't like them either. And because you want to find out whether it is worthwhile to listen to many more pieces of popular music also by André Rieu, here finally is one last sample offer: the Ave Maria, but the one by Schubert, which is actually called "Ellen's Third Song".
All right, I'll go along with that. Can you recognize classical music by the instruments played? Somehow a little bit, but not so much when listening as when watching it live or on TV or YouTube. But with all due caution. Of course, many, many musicians also play the violin when they don't perform classical music at all. But at classical concerts, the violin almost always plays a leading role. Of course, the same applies in this case: with many exceptions. Then regarding the piano or even the grand piano. Concerning the keyboard, both are probably represented 95 to 5 in classical orchestras, with all other offerings it tends to be the other way around. The drums accounted for 25% of the Beatles' artistic output. If an orchestra consists of 100 ladies and gentlemen, it has "only" a significance of one percent. Next: Of course orchestras occasionally play with electric guitars, but when it comes to music for young people, "almost no song" can do without them ... again one of my exaggerations. After all, you hardly ever find a few instruments "in all other music", for example, the harp or an oboe, a flute, or a violoncello. Once again I would like to point out: Musicians of all styles (... so 100%) and connoisseurs of their "disciplines" will strongly object, mentally, hopefully not by email, and they are right. This section really only serves you in connection with the others above and below to get a feeling for what classical music actually is.
© stokkete / Fotolia.com
More than one violin: Then, it's rather classical music.
A harp in a rock band? Probably not. But in a classical orchestra? Definitely cool.
If you want to listen to classical music in concert? Well, actually any clothes. It's a really colorful mixture, and the more popular the classical offer, the looser the clothes of the audience. At Rieu's concerts, every style is present, while in the "St. Matthew Passion" you see more people "dressing up nicely".
It looks different when you imagine the artists who make music on the stage. They are – if it is classical music – in most cases uniformly, conservatively, festively, and solemnly dressed. Of course, there are exceptions: First in general, but then especially not when it comes to "my" provocative young and also in the future recognized classical works in my "Classic Top 100", which are interpreted by various artists. An example? Well, an example. "Over the Rainbow". The first presentation is, of course, the performance by Judy Garland in the film "Wizard of Oz". And she is anything but festively dressed (... so in the video). Another example: "Bohemian Rhapsody" by Queen: Of course, Queen does not perform in tuxedos. But if you listen to the performance of both masterpieces in a concert and today, it is easy to imagine that the orchestra and the tenors, sopranos and all the musicians, including the conductor, are very well-dressed, uniformly and often in black suits ... so ... the gentlemen. Both the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, the Johann Strauss Orchestra, and even the Württemberg Chamber Orchestra Heilbronn ... Heilbronn is the neighborhood city of my home community of Flein, which tends to be the deepest province viewed from New York ... present themselves in very conservative clothes. If it becomes more popular and is no longer quite so classical, what is played, the uniform remains, but no longer "beer-serious-tuxedo-conservative" but colorful. But it's also clear that color comes into play for the female soloists even in the most classical orchestra when it comes to their festive dress. An example of performers of mainly non-classical works is the Music Society "Happiness" (Frohsinn) in Flein ... Flein is the wine village where my wife and I live.
Yes, here you rather imagine a dignified suit with a bow tie for the listeners (... not the female listeners, because they hardly ever wear a bow tie). But this does not mean that today you can or should enjoy classical music in an opera house only in a suit. And it's just "such a tendency" to indicate the difference to the enjoyment of other music. Perhaps classical music fans also tend to be rather and on average somewhat older than those who enjoy "other" music. Well ... maybe you don't take this section about the listeners' clothing too seriously, either. Of course, you can go to a classical concert today in a young, cool outfit. The way you dress every day. It's a bit like it was on cruises back then: You used to associate them with staid pensioners as participants and getting dressed up elegantly for each dinner. Every night. Today it is fun for everyone: young and older, conservative and hip. And when you're not wearing your muscle shirt and swimming trunks for dinner ...
Classical music is also available on cruise ships. Of course, popular, light, cool classical music is preferred. Also, this way and there you can get to know classical music. Well ... if you are going on a cruise soon.
This ... is a concert hall. And a great dress and a fancy suit fit here just as perfectly as your outfit at the prom. Well ... but times have changed. In the US, times that happened already a long time ago: Some people wear tuxes, others come in jeans. They sit next to each other and everyone's happy. There you go!
Classical music? Do the Beatles already stand for classical music in general? Or are only some of their titles on their way to becoming classical music? Or ... will none of their songs ever be classical music?
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Classical music – very conservative and also young and light – can also be recognized emotionally. But only very few beginners with this genre can do that. Whereby the borderline, where both music areas meet, is difficult to define. That's one of the reasons why this website exists. An example: If you listen to pieces from the "Phantom of the Opera" even a primary school student can classify them as classical music. If you listen to a "Country and Western" song, you know it is not classical music. Where both meet, it becomes difficult: Is "Don't Cry for Me, Argentina" (... singing starts after 60 seconds) already "young, modern, light classical music"? Or is it just not? How good that these criteria don't play a special role either. And almost none at all, if you are too young to have encountered classical music long enough and often enough by chance "in sufficient quantity".
Johann Sebastian Bach. Hardly any other composer next to him – well, perhaps apart from Beethoven and Mozart –stands for classical music as clearly as he does. He wrote a total of 1,128 surviving pieces, all of them classical music today. But a further 10,000 or so pieces have disappeared ... a recognized Bach expert suspects, who must know.
Popular and light musical works composed in the recent past already have the potential to become "evergreens" at first, respectively to be covered by one artist after another, to finally, after many, many years, better decades, turn into a "light" classical music piece accepted by many. "Evergreen" is a German ( ? ! ) word for a music piece, that people love today as much as they did 20, 50, or 100 years ago. Always, of course, the term "light, cool and popular classical music" remains a "challenge" for quite dogged classical music lovers (...oops). But they are very likely to disagree with my complete website altogether!
By the way, there is another kind of classical music that few people know about its existence. Few of all people, not a few classical music lovers. Because: Even today there are composers who create music, as once did Bach, Beethoven, Mozart, and their "colleagues". Composing classical music as classical music. In fact, still today! Similar to the "old and ancient" experts. And they compose modern classical music in the same way as Handel, Liszt and others did at their times. And not via the detour, first to please today and then to become an "evergreen".
Of course, these artists have a hard, infinitely hard time, because mostly unknown, they neither serve people who like all music, except classical music, nor people who come to classical music via "light classical music". And of course, not at all those music lovers, who understand classical music to be exclusively the works of the "very greats of the classical epoch". They would perhaps be enthusiastic about the music of these contemporary classical composers, but there would be far too few listeners looking for them to find these "young" contemporary classical composers, whose music they would classify as almost equal to these long-dead composers, and finally, "consuming" it, means buying their music. Because that is what such musicians live on. And here is a small reminder: It's not about young artists performing classical music, it's about musicians of all ages living today composing new, very conservative, young classical works.
Classical music ...
... pretty sure no classical music.
If you in a test face the word "classical" or "classic" without the word "music", then the whole story might become "tricky"! Then it might be a trick question, and it would be like: "Which famous composers composed classical music" or "Name three composers in the classical period". If the sentence structure of the question is exactly the same, or even very similar, then the question is not about composers of classical music in general, but about composers in the classical period. Then only Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven come into question. Sure, and the champions in the third to the ninth league. So that means: Pay attention to the keyword "classic" or "classical" in a test and first analyze in detail whether the question is about the composers in the classical epoch or whether the question is about classical composers.
Well ... classical music at the age of one? Why not, against it your offspring can hardly resist, and who knows whether you "plant a seed" when you just offer him or her the right classical music to his or her ears?! As you will see from the audience in Maastricht and other spectacular places in the world (... in many of my video offerings in the Classical Music Top100), it is really not only classical music beginners who get much, much pleasure from André Rieu's offering. Among them is also a lady well over 100 years old, with whom Rieu danced a Viennese waltz every year in Maastricht until the Corona era (... gladly again: If you dislike Rieu and his "fun entertainment" altogether, please click here). So if you are serious or with high expectations, or both, on the way to such entertainment, I recommend you the concerts of the master in Maastricht and other cities. And that is in 2017, then a year later in 2018 and 2019: Classical music for beginners at its best. This is exactly what I have been looking for myself for so many decades and exactly such a concert, namely the one of 2019, which we enjoyed on TV in May 2020, was the reason to create this website. In 2020 this event was canceled and after the "Covid Challenge" I try to find out for you on which TV station the concert will be broadcast, and you will get here from me the hint to the then-latest concert of André Rieu in Maastricht ... or somewhere else. I have found that in the meantime – also to our delight – and with a click here you will get the upcoming two broadcasts and via "SHOW ALL DATES" you will find all options.
Plus, by the way, about Rieu and my "Classic Top 100": No, not all the famous classical works are included in my list, which would have qualified according to all the criteria listed above. So, dear Bach enthusiasts, Mozart fans, and Beethoven lovers: 300 popular classical compositions (... on page 2 of this website) simply have to be enough on this, my website. And from here – if you have started early enough to be interested or even enthusiastic about this popular classical music – you can stay for a lifetime and then discover more classical works and classical composers or the complete works of some masters.
Popular classic ... or popular classical music is such classical music, which is defined by many people as an entirely separate segment of music between classical music (... that is all classical works) and all "other music". Popular classical music is essentially such classic in which certain passages are clearly recognizable. Thus, the top hits of popular classical music resemble today's chart hits. You recognize the refrain, you can hum along, and they are always beautiful or very high-quality pieces. Often, individual passages remain "in the ear" for hours after listening. Mostly, popular classical works are rather shorter than long. And there are some "extracted" melodies from a complete work that many fans of this category of music love. People who are enthusiastic about popular music tend to want to "experience" this subsection of classical music in a more fluffy, loose, and light way than, for example, the "rest of the classical music fan community" wants to experience the St. Matthew Passion or Bach's Mass in B minor. In no way does the quality of each work matter. The above-mentioned St. Matthew Passion is not a work in the "Top 300". Not, because it is not popular enough, but it is – a masterpiece – not included because people who choose light, that is popular classical music, recognize "below the line" only one passage. Namely, the introductory, first notes.
A conflict of interest exists where "all classical music" meets "popular classical music". In fact, there are people – like me – who do not enjoy classical music "around the clock". But, a lot of classical music, that is "easily digestible" as described. However, many "serious" fans of classical music do listen to such works from morning till night. For that, it needs much, much more classical music than there are works for the "guild of lovers of popular classical music". Popular classical music is only one work out of 100 to 1,000 classical pieces. Now, if one wants to "serve" both groups in the best possible way, conservative classical music fans would have to listen far too often to the much rarer existing popular classical music pieces. This leads to a strange situation:
The following happens: If a classical music editor selects for conservative classic listeners, then – in rare cases – there may also be a top popular piece of his choice. But if there are more of them, then all regular listeners of that kind will find this selection too shallow, too popular, too superficial, too little classical. But that's exactly why the works selected for a classical program, that is the general program of classical music stations, are so distracting for newcomers, kids, and lovers of popular classical music. That's why I too kept passing by classical music offerings – in my car and while TV zapping – and realized: Classical music is not "my cup of tea" ... but popular classical music is. How a radio station solved this to perfection ... read about that already a little further below.
Yes ... they play classical music. I am sure about that!
Four sorts of classical music fans simply don't agree. Yes, indeed, and I came to this conclusion in a summary long, long after the actual editorial deadline for this website. Namely, after reading the German Wikipedia article. It's pointless, but let me think up this section: Sure, 1) there are those experts who postulate rock-solidly that classical music is exactly the music that was created in the classical epoch, namely that of Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, and a few less-known composers more. The other music that this group prefers to listen to is therefore baroque music or masterpieces from the Renaissance, or it is simply New Music. 2) The second group of music lovers of this genre is people who allow a larger range of musical works and who also tend to summarize the periods of time. But for them, it goes already too far that at the popular edge operetta melodies, waltzes, and similar "unworthy" composed as classical music appears. 3) The third group sees everything more relaxed and such melodies from operettas and musicals, if they are only "historical enough", are very welcome. This group is certainly the most tolerant, and it is exactly this group that is served by the many classical radio stations all over the world. 4) The fourth group, finally, is the one that is enthusiastic about young, cool, light, and popular classical music but less about conservative classical music, and this group is despised by the other three, especially the second, downright for its taste. I have taken the background from the German Wikipedia article "Popular Classical Music" (... there is not yet an English one) and will "conserve" it for eternity on my website if I succeed in redesigning the Wikipedia article in a fairer and more balanced way. I "take care" of the fourth group, because I see it naturally most relaxed ... the challenge with the classical music. This is also because the general interest in conservative classical music is declining, but that in popular classical music is increasing. With my website, I would like to open up a new horizon by including young classical music in my Classic Top 100, that is, titles and works that undoubtedly have the same quality with which Bach, Mozart, and others were accepted into the" Classical Music Club". Moreover, I am firmly convinced that individual top titles of our century can certainly "keep up" with the lesser-known of the very great composers. In this context, I am happy to rank third alongside the well-known musician and conductor André Rieu and the respected Westdeutscher Rundfunk, a German radio station, and with my tolerance, I am even a little more courageous than Rieu and WDR. And of course ... I play in a completely different league.
How highly complicated it is to explain "classical music", is what I want to document in a more detailed way for all those who are only now really interested. Just to get an impression, I will list the German finds now. In a following paragraph, there are the English results with hyperlinks. It is a little disappointing because even with me, you can't read how to summarize classical music in one cool sentence. The German Wikipedia article just "meanders around" a little, and you are as smart as you were before googling. Indipedia.de even brings up the almost unknown term of "F" music, the allegedly so-called "functional music". Great to make a topic even more complicated, which is already complicated anyway. "Die Klassik.de" leaves – at least with me – only shaking your head and is really worth a click! "Board of Music" also comes up with the "F" music, and the explanation is simply wrong. Not so far away from a hit is the "Lexikon der Musik" (Encyclopedia of Music)... well, of course, you have to google the term "upper educated middle class" briefly and additionally, but otherwise ... this is the best of all alternatives. Monique Schaetti from Switzerland explains it on16 pages and is not really easy to understand. She compares classical music with the Alps in Europe, and she calls the work of the Karlspreis (... Charlemagne Prize ... an important prize in Germany) winner André Rieu the "absolute lowest limit". She should be ashamed of this, I am convinced the opposite is true. And "from Rieu", any interested and enthusiastic person is at liberty to turn to the "most serious, dust-dry enjoyment of classical music" in the sense of the author's lines. And by the way: In Rieu's concerts, look out for thousands of people who enjoy his performances. The enthusiasm is simply not worthy of the above criticism. We go on ... the Klexikon (... one more German source) contains the usual rubbish and more: Classical music follows "exactly the notes"! And finally, here is a complete study by a professor on the subject of "classical music". These are really and seriously complete 287 (... two hundred and eighty-seven) pages and enabled her to obtain the title of doctor. So ... I thought my explanation here is much too long! Of course, these 287 pages are in German and would have to be translated, before the fun begins.
If you google „What Is Classical Music?” on the English web, the first Google hint is like my goofy super headline on top of this page defines it: … It is rather long-established music than folk, jazz, or popular. To the point, in one sentence, but it’s almost worth nothing without more explanation. Wikipedia seems to have fallen in love with the word "Western" ... definitely not my choice if you want to meet classical music for the first time. Your Classical Org is close to my hint: "You know it when you hear it … or you think you do." Cool. After that, they make a sharp right turn to the classic period thing. The next paragraph does not help, too. At least Your Classical confirms, that it’s hard to explain and experts fight. Classicfm points to the Oxford Dictionary, and they point to the Western musical tradition … well what else … ? Finally, classicfm comes up – regarding the term of classic (… which they call classical) – with the hint “Classical music ... there isn’t any other word (... for such music) that seems to describe it better”. Okay?!?! Bravo to leonardbernstein.com: Everybody thinks to know what classical music is and then comes the jazz thing, “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” and similar, which are no classical music. Next follows much, much to read and all of that might be an alternative to my definitions, however, my offer is more entertaining. If you need even more input, their definition would be my second choice … if you want to take the time. TheFreeDictionary shows up with the Haydn, Beethoven, and Mozart period thing. The same does LowellHohstadt.com. Living pianos just explains it more than confusing … at least to me.
Thank you, WDR 4: Without the "Klassik Populär" format, which I initially thought was a classical radio station playing exclusively popular classical music, I would not have been sure – probably for the rest of my life – whether I was right with my "young definition" of classic, which is certainly provocative for conservative classical music enthusiasts. Through the playlists of past shows, I found out: I can sleep peacefully again. Once again: thank you WDR 4. By the way to it: Who finds my offer cool, would like to stay with it for life, but then additionally would love a few more works, should not stop reading here.
© WDR, Cologne... thank you!
My thanks to the WDR 4 team. © Photo: WDR 4.
WDR, more precisely Westdeutscher Rundfunk (West German Broadcast) in Cologne, offers something very special for a very small group of people. These are music fans who are one hundred percent in favor of my philosophy and what I have to offer. But they also want more than "just 300" such popular classical music titles. I cannot help here ... directly. But I can surely help indirectly. When collecting popular classical pieces, it becomes more and more difficult with each piece found, because on YouTube more and more often the same pieces then hide the further "pearls". And a second way, namely to be so well versed in conservative classical music that you thus naturally know even more popular pieces, I myself am not. But ... I have found them ... these experts. They work with the WDR 4 and offer, once a week, namely on Sundays from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. (CET ... in Germany and Western Europe), exactly such music. There are many, many more popular classical titles than I have compiled into the 300 best. Therefore, this offer is not for absolute beginners and kids. Because the 550th piece in its category is of course not as popular as the 33rd. However, if you want to compile more such hits for a lifetime, you can accomplish this with the WDR's broadcast to perfection.
The fact that you can listen to the live stream every Sunday between 7 p.m. and 10 p. m. (CET) is great, but hardly beneficial for anyone. Of course, if you can barely wait to be offered new popular classical music, then this day and time might be good even for Americans. All other fans of popular classical music, however: You can listen to the current program at any time. And you also get three playlists. That is always the one that matches the current show, plus the playlists of the two shows before. Here you get all the names of the music titles, the musicians, and the composer. You discover the composer when you scroll not only vertically, but also horizontally. Now it is possible – with your mouse and how else – to copy the title and paste it to YouTube. Then YouTube offers – most of the time – the corresponding piece and, if you are lucky, even in two or more variants. So you can hear with a few seconds whether it is worth "listening on" and decide whether you would like to "have" it. You can now save it – in a new file – as a YouTube playlist, or you can add it to your "Amazon Prime" list or your "Spotify" list. The fourth option is to buy it from "Amazon Downloads".
When this German website page was finished, I wanted to know – when I did not yet know that there was also permanent access beyond the live offer – for our USA visitors and guests from all over the world, if it is possible to listen to each program later, because every Sunday at the appropriate time most people on earth and especially in the USA sleep, where the program starts between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m. At the time when I sent my mail to WDR, they wrote that this would not work. Later – with the English pages finished – I was by chance "on the road" there again, and found not only the offer to listen to the current broadcast at any time but also the option to enjoy every broadcast in the past 52 weeks. This is possible via the Mediathek and in it the Audiothek. Here you can get there directly. For this, however, there are no playlists, but I think who is that interested in more light, cool popular classical works, also makes the effort and listens to the complete format and writes down what other titles are called, which are then again – as mentioned above – via the 4 options ready "to be transferred to your own stock".
A huge, huge thank you goes from me to the experts at WDR 4 "Klassik Populär". I had a lot, a lot of headaches, especially with my young popular classical works and those that are really borderline, such as the title melodies of "Once Upon a Time in the West", the title melody of "Jurassic Park" or such treasures as the soundtrack of "Forrest Gump". One day I was sure these works indeed were young popular classical music, the next morning I was unsure. And so it stretched, and it shrank: my list of the "Top 300". Until I discovered the offer from WDR 4. And that made it clear: Other people who have recognized a very clear genre within the usual classical music. And who offer a similar selection. Only much larger, and therefore – in the sense of my philosophy for kids and beginners – you should definitely start with my list. Because the further you get away from the "Top 300", the more borderline the acceptance of being considered a young, popular classical work becomes, of course. With a quick addition of one of the three playlists, I come up with 45 titles and that's 2,340 such works in a year. Of course, "pi times thumb" and many of my comparisons limp ... I know. What a dream upgrade to my collection. Thank you WDR 4 team.
© WDR, Cologne
If you also find that popular classical music is "just your thing", then WDR 4's offer is a dream: Here you are offered almost infinitely more popular classical works. And at any time of the day, every day of the week. And always on Sundays one "portion" more. Photo: © WDR 4 with many thanks.
Hundreds of Music Gifts? Probably More Like Thousands of Music Gifts
Funny, what items you can personalize! In five shops, the publishing house "Bach 4 You" offers not only 99 music calendars, but also endlessly exciting Bach articles and also ... many, many cool articles with composers and music themes. Just click there and browse.
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Take a deep breath! Of course, there is "Peter and the Wolf", there is the German Peter Maffay's work "Tabaluga" and maybe one or the other work per thousand (Brahms' "Lullaby" or "Cradle Song") of classical music composed especially for children. But these quite certainly are no well-known classical melodies in general. And this offer of "classical music for children" becomes even homeopathic if you compare these few pieces with all music in all styles of all time. But what kind of offer is it, for which so many pages can be found on Google?
Under "classical music for children" you imagine a collection of classical music works, which are composed especially for children. Right? Right! What else? Then you buy such a collection. But now adults can also listen to exactly this compilation, because what
you can buy on eBay and Amazon are not special works for children. Basically, "classical music for children" is just a marketing gag, if it is about offering such music for kids. Without question, Bach in particular and classical music, in general, have a calming effect on kiddies and even on babies. After all, studies have clearly shown that. But ... very seriously ... this is not what you expect under the term "classical music for children". Whether it is the same with "classical music for babies" is a question: Simply read over it, it appears as an offer to buy classical works composed especially for babies. Well, you could combine lullabies, which are often and unquestionably "classical in nature", into one offer. That would be then "classical music for babies" ... but in this way ... none of the offers on Google page 1 is meant. For nevertheless interested, here now a few links (... below the advertisement after the next paragraph).
Then you are, Advertising Start ... in the best hands in the publishing house shop of my wife. Because exactly for such a wish we have analyzed 250 CDs and CD boxes with about 300 classical music CDs for children and babies. The result is an amazing result, today accurately divided into the number of "very suitable", beautiful and "negative" works that you can present to children. All in the spirit of the philosophy of my "popular classical music for kids and beginners. Advertising End.
The first result, which I googled, just confirms what I wrote and – believe it or not – this paragraph was ready for my German readers and now, I research, what similar results I can find for my US website of Google. The first result takes me to Classic FM and the page “10 best pieces of classical music for children”. What do you read there? No. 1 is "Carnival of the Animals" 1, No. 2 is "Swan Lake", not composed for children at all, No. 3 is “Peter and the Wolf”, which I wrote about as the exception to the rule. Next are “For Elise” (4) by Beethoven, "The Blue Danube" (5) by Strauss, The “A Little Night Music" by Mozart is No. 6 and 7 is "The Nutcracker", 8 is Handel’s "Water Music", Elmer Bernstein’s "The Great Escape" is No. 9 and finally No. 10 Bizet’s "Overture to Carmen". And the result, my rating, whether these titles are good for children: zero points, null Punkte, cero puntos. Except "Peter and the Wolf". One hit, nine misses.
Next is ClassicsforKids.com and …hurray, hurray … it tries to teach children, that classical music was composed from 1750 to 1828. At least Haydn and Beethoven are listed as well. But that is exactly what I mean, when I have such a hard time, to teach children, that classical music is not, what has been composed in the classical period, but classical music is a term for all music composed in one particular music genre. However, the author there states in his or her first line, that he or she is actually talking about Bach’s music and Handel’s music as well when he or she suggests that classical music – quote – “... is not rock, jazz or another style – end of quote – to tell what classical music is. I am very pleased.
It’s not different on Let's Play Kids Music, one of the next results on Google's page 1. It starts with "The Tritsch-Tratsch-Polka" by Strauss, which definitely is not composed for children. Next is the "Radetzky March". The same is true: not composed for kids, "The Nutcracker" which we know from above. "The Carnival of the Animals" ... is considered by some authors as a work composed for children. I doubt that. For me, the composition of Camille Saint-Saëns is just a regular – okay, beautiful – but common classical composition. And so it goes on … I don’t want to bore you.
The Telegraph – News Website of the Year – … just … forget it. Not a single work there is for children, and they weren't even trying hard.
Last but not least, there is Amazon and here you will find many of those collections. The only difference is, that on Amazon, like on eBay, music publishing houses try to sell you collections of classical music, which are not at all composed for children.
Okay, one more result from page 2 of the Google results: There is Time.com and on its page "10 Pieces of Classical Music Your Toddler Will Love" there is not one single piece that – in my opinion – has anything to do with a summary that addresses in particular children.
No cool instruction on the web, what classical music is, and there is no classical music for children. What had to be proven!
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The Beethoven calendar.
The Beethoven calendar again. Only with the discovery, that you can mix historic wooden engravings, one popular oil painting, and four modern, new, young artworks, it is possible to present 12 monthly pages this way. So, this is probably not only the only such Beethoven calendar today but will remain so for all eternity.
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