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Significance of Classical Music in the Modern Era

Classical Music in the Modern Era
Written by Medhaavi Mishra

Historically, it has been a natural tendency of humans to go back to their classical past time and again. The way in the Renaissance period an effort was made to revive the classical past and how still the classical Greek tragedies of Homer and Sophocles are considered to be epitomes of literary merit is reflective of how for us humans everything classical is timeless. A similar trajectory could be observed in the case of Classical Music where even musicians of the modern era seem to be holding onto their classical roots even more strongly than ever. It’s quite interesting to note how today in the musical world, we can see a coming together of the classical and the modern and the upshot of this amalgamation is something that the world is loving. Pieces like Billy Joel’s The Night, Lady Gaga’s Alejandro and Maroon 5’s Memories all hold a certain charm and they all have been quite vocal about how they were inspired by classical music. That being said, let us explore the significance that classical music holds in the Modern era and have a look at the universal and timeless quality of classical music. 

  • The rejuvenating and healing potential of Classical Music

In today’s modern world where each of us is always in a hurry and as a result, are under constant pressure and stress, classical music becomes an escape. Scientific studies conducted over the years have proved how listening to classical music helps enhance one’s cognitive abilities and helps in relieving stress. The slow melodies of classical music are proven to produce a calming effect on the listener. Yes, you heard it right! Now you can add classical music to your list of ways to reduce stress along with meditation and yoga. Also, you must all be familiar with the works of Mozart but do you know that there is something called the Mozart Effect? Mozart Effect is a theory which states that listening to the compositions of Mozart can temporarily boost your IQ! So, in simple words engaging with classical music is like killing not two but three birds with one stone. Engage with classical music and entertain yourself while paving the way towards a smarter and stress-free you. That somewhat explains the popularity of classical music till today. 

  • A string that binds us all together

Like every other piece of art, classical music mirrors the world in which it was created. It is a product of the beliefs and thought processes of the people who created it and is not something that exists in a vacuum. So, through classical music, one gets a glimpse into the world which existed before us and connects us with our past, helping us form a kind of collective consciousness through the awareness of a collective past. For instance, if you look at Indian Classical Music and the generations of people who are connected through it, you will understand how this tradition has helped in the formation of a collective identity and brought together the people of India under one single roof. So, classical music is that string which rhythmically connects the world around us. 

  • A strong foundation for the music of all kinds

You might not remember entire songs but a chorus is something that gets easily stuck in your mind. Did you know that the choruses which often become your catchphrases are actually a product of the classical era? Yes, you heard it right. The first known use of chorus was made in classical music and that tradition is followed by music composers even today which you yourself are familiar with. Also, the three major pillars of Indian classical music namely tala, raga and pada still form the crux of modern music including Bollywood Music. Music today is about experimentation but nevertheless, the actual essence of it is timeless, a heritage that is passed over from one generation to the other. So, in that sense, classical music can be considered the foundation stone over which all succeeding forms of music were established and will be established in the coming times. 

  • What is Music without Classical Instruments?

While the significance of classical music is accepted by most, there are still many who like to contradict this idea. For them, classical music is a part of the classical era and needs to be left there as it’s not something that appeals to a modern audience. But if modern music is about moving away from the classical tradition, then it would mean leaving behind classical instruments like sitar, violin, harmonium and cello. And imagine an entire tradition of music without the presence of such instruments. You cannot, right? Today, Classical instruments are being used with a modern twist like the Dubstep Violin and Cello Rock and the creation of such experimental forms of music wouldn’t have been possible without these classical instruments and classical music. As we know, innovation happens when you experiment with what you already have. In this sense, this tradition of classical music becomes the root from which sprouts the music of the modern world.

So, in a sense, classical music holds specific significance especially in the modern world where humans are in search of something to hold onto to escape from its alienating experience. This ever-changing world demands something timeless which reminds people of their roots and arts, in this case, classical music becomes the anchor which keeps them connected to their roots. Its significance becomes manifold in a world that is constantly engaged in a rat race and craves moments of peace and harmony. When you bring this all together, you find an explanation for the popularity that classical music experiences till today. Where some engage with it for its recuperative abilities, for others it’s a source of inspiration and for some, it’s a way of holding onto one’s cultural roots. But no matter how you look at it, the significance of classical music in the modern world is quite clear.

About the author

Medhaavi Mishra