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Thread: Modern Remixes of Classical Music: A Good Idea or Demeaning?

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    Junior Member Welsh Classical Fan's Avatar
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    Default Modern Remixes of Classical Music: A Good Idea or Demeaning?

    Now, I don't want to give the impression that I am one of these people who listens to nothing bar the songs on these various pop music channels. Here in the UK, I do have the option to (and listen to on some occasions) Classic FM TV (which is now branded as oMusic) but have noticed in the last few months a large number of dance groups especially "sampling" (or as I call it "pinching") pieces of classical music and placing it in their works. The most recent versions of this are:

    "Applainachan Spring" by Copland finding it's way into Scooter's "The Song Above My Hair" and "In the Hall of the Mountain King" by Grieg finding it's way into a song called "Dream a Dream" by Captain Jack.

    My own feelings about this is "What a bare faced cheek!", but would like to know if other members are pleased that classical music is getting a mention in this day and age of "piano breaks" and "hardcore grime"?

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    I'm indifferent - I don't really care either way. The sad fact is that their use of classical music in popular music is not going to bring people to classical music, nor will it drive them away, so it doesn't really have an effect on classical music, even though it demonstrates the artists' ignorance of the value of such music in its original form. :/

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    Senior Member Weston's Avatar
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    I have never liked it as an irrelevant appendage to the pop music. That is what Spinal Tap jokes about in their song "(Listen to the) Flower People":

    "Listen, it's like a Mozart symphony . . ."

    Whereupon they briefly break into a guitar version of Eine kleine Nachtmusik which we all know isn't a symphony anyway.

    I do like it when it is more of an homage. In the late 60's through the 70's progressive rock groups openly borrowed from classical for the main theme of their pieces. Or jam bands and jazz bands might occasionally quote a theme in a guitar solo and cleverly disguise it so it isn't obvious until you listen several times. Rather than get me interested in classical, this had the opposite effect and got me interested in rock and jazz. This approach makes more sense to me than quoting a classical work just to sound cool or knowledgeable and then going on to do something unrelated.

    I do sometimes enjoy dance music using classical as the main theme of a piece. This can be a lot of fun and generally harmless. But I would caution producers that this too has been done many times before and the results are ephemeral at best - like most pop music. In the early 70's a group called Apollo 100 (not to be confused with Apollo 440 which is a great sample based band I enjoy) produced a danceable version of Bach's Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring. it was terrific fun at the time, but if you try to listen today you'll have a coronary from the overdose of cheese. Some may be thinking that the pop music of today won't sound that cheesy decades from now, but I guarantee you, with very rare exceptions, it will.

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    Junior Member Stunt21's Avatar
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    Sometimes I don't care too much...But other times I feel so insulted.

    The latest ones I heard were Gnossienne nº1, used by Buddha Bar, and here in Spain "we" have a hip-hop band which used the most known part of Dvorák's nº9, in a 4 or 5 second loop which is repeated in the whole song :angry: Who do they think they are?

    Greetings!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Welsh Classical Fan View Post
    but have noticed in the last few months a large number of dance groups especially "sampling" (or as I call it "pinching") pieces of classical music and placing it in their works.
    Been going on since before World War II. Borodin's music was even borrowed to make an entire musical. Nothing new here.
    cheers,
    Graeme

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    Senior Member Lukecash12's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Polednice View Post
    I'm indifferent - I don't really care either way. The sad fact is that their use of classical music in popular music is not going to bring people to classical music, nor will it drive them away, so it doesn't really have an effect on classical music, even though it demonstrates the artists' ignorance of the value of such music in its original form. :/
    Right you are sir. They can keep injecting actually good music into their own works, but as a whole, it's always going to sound like junk put together by a twelve year old.
    There is no wealth like knowledge, no poverty like ignorance.
    Nahj ul-Balāgha by Ali bin Abu-Talib

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    Newbies kingdubrock's Avatar
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    I like the disco Beethoven's 5th.

    The issue seems to me to be how people 20+ years on feel about the practice of sampling in general and not the pedigree or purity of the source or whatever..

    My own background, while I have liked Classical music since childhood, has been in large part rooted in various types of music which use samples. Early Hip Hop, Jungle, Drum n Bass, "Trip Hop", "Nu Jazz", Broken Beats, and all manner of eclectic strains of "electronica". As such I have a different perspective as to the artistic merit of some of this music, than say, a gigging musician, or someone who wouldnt or couldnt distinguish between stuff like "Can't Touch This" and someone like DJ Shadow or the Avalanches.
    In many cases Jazz & Soul musicians embraced the onset of sampling in Hip Hop for example and even collaborated with them.

    The level of inventiveness, creativity and technical skill that goes into the best of this music would shock some people. A good Hip Hop Dj or Electronica producer for example, can take anywhere from 5 to 8 years just to get to a level of expression that arguably can rival that of an emerging Jazz or experimental musician who might take the same amount of time to get to a point where improvisation, control and creativity are possible.

    The range of references, influences, sophisticated research and collecting of (usually very rare) recordings also takes as much passion and effort as developing literacy in any other true artform. Gilles Peterson in the UK is one example of someone who started in and championed this underground music and culture and now has one of the most respected record collections and BBC radio shows in the world.

    The intent or aim of the music has a great deal to do with things as well. The sort of discourse surrounding history, context, language, disposability vs longevity in culture etc.. has elevated to the point where dialog occurs with mutual respect among classical, electroacoustic, jazz, and various experimental composers and this new breed of electronic/sampling artist.
    John Adams Speaks very highly of Aphex Twin in His memoirs. John Toop covered everyone from Debussy, Stockhausen and Cage to Eno, Lee Perry snd Bjork in one sweeping survey of "ambient" music.
    Also check out this really interesting record :
    Warp Works & Twentieth Century Masters
    Last edited by kingdubrock; Feb-04-2010 at 20:00.
    "the ten thousand things are all reflections
    the moon originally has no light"
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    "...A beautiful sunset that was mistaken for a dawn.”
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    “In opera, there is always too much singing.”
    - Claude Debussy

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    Yeah, about this...lets try to not impress on people the idea that classical music fans are those obese snobby wealthy elites who look down upon other genres..."Oh, I would NEVER listen to that music! But...just the other day I was 'flipping channels' and you'd never believe what I heard!"

    Personally, I recognize how hard it is to write a good song that people want to hear/spend hard earned money on, samples used or not.

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    Newbies kingdubrock's Avatar
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    Hi David,

    Not sure who that was directed at (if anyone), but if I gave the impression I thought that of classical fans it was unintentional. If I did think that I wouldnt have bothered to join and post (although as a lurker I have read a few posts on this forum that absolutely curled my hair )
    "the ten thousand things are all reflections
    the moon originally has no light"
    - Han-shan

    "...A beautiful sunset that was mistaken for a dawn.”
    -Claude Debussy

    “In opera, there is always too much singing.”
    - Claude Debussy

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    demeaning and utterly so.

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    Newbies kingdubrock's Avatar
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    demeaning and utterly so.

    Do you mean the Scooter tune that was cited in the OP or in general?

    Would you also say that using classical music out of context in other ways such as for advertising (A slick car ad with a Satie tune comes to mind), or film soundtracks is equally demeaning?
    "the ten thousand things are all reflections
    the moon originally has no light"
    - Han-shan

    "...A beautiful sunset that was mistaken for a dawn.”
    -Claude Debussy

    “In opera, there is always too much singing.”
    - Claude Debussy

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    Hi guys, I am new to this forum. I have not really listened to classical music much at all in my life yet however I have a very good apreciation similar to kingdubrock and that fantastic post 5 slots above mine. I do however have my head in trance and progressive music and I have a few things to say/ask about classical.
    I do think that people calling the sampling of classical or orchestral music into a track is not demeaning at all, quite the opposite. For a genre that is not familiar to the younger generations like myself I do believe that it is a fantastic way of enlightening people. I however believe scooter represents commercial dance music which I detest due to cheesiness and generally poorer production quality than trance and progressive.

    I have joined this form to try and gain a deeper knowledge of classical music especially the string and chello melodies with a view to aplying them to a trance track (not literally as in sampling but more classical music experience will give me new ideas) and a new depth of musical understanding.

    If anyone could reccomend any classical music tunes that would be fantastic.

    Also as you said before that artists can take years developing a certain sound or tune, it is true from electronic music as well in the form of Armin Van Buuren's Imagine which I believe took over two years and uses certain orchestral instruments/synthesised instruments not pinched but I believe he has taken some inspiration from classical music and also Queen (the legend that is).

    Also I am wondering what you think of this tune because it is teh tune that inspired me to join this forum.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7UHvVXF1oKc

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    True, a lot of the people sampling may not know the original in its concept; however, it does introduce the music to an audience who may not otherwise know of it!

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    hello all - I specialise in contemporary remixes of classic masterpieces and have dedicated the following label to them:

    www.remixdj.co.uk

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    I've never really been fussed... like any kind of cover or sample to be fair. There was a dance song a while back that completely used the music from Michael Jackson's Human Nature, can't remember the name but what i hate is when the borrowed work isn't even mentioned by the artist. So the fans who don't know any better will go on thinking this genius stuff is by the artist they just heard. There should be a clear indication (by a 'featuring' in the title or something) to let people know.

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