How pop culture ruined classical music for me

4:01 PM

In an episode of Seinfeld, Elaine tells Jerry: "It is so sad. All your knowledge of high culture comes from Bugs Bunny cartoons." 

What's even sadder is that all my knowledge of high culture comes from pop culture, from Tv shows just like Seinfeld.

For some years I've been trying to listen to classical music. It has been somewhat difficult to appreciate it, you know, after years of exposure to every new pop band and song that ever existed. (Yes, this means I know What makes you beautiful by heart. Please don't judge me, it's an addiction.)

Anyway, one of the issues of beginning to listen classical music is exactly what happened with Seinfeld. You already know some of the songs, so you feel happy because hey, suddenly I'm not so dumb, but them it's like yeah, this is from Tom and Jerry.

Here's some pieces that made me happy to recognize them only to realize it was from a movie. See if you can guess from which movie they are (answers in the end):

1) Mozart: The Marriage of Figaro

2) Bocherinni: String Quintet in E, Op. 11 No. 5 

3) Chopin: Piano Concerto No. 1st and 2nd movement

4) Poulenc: Mouvements Perpétuels No. 1

5) Listz: Liebesträume, S 541 

From the movies:

1) Trading Places (opening scene).
2) Ferris Bueller's Day Off (I'm Abbey Froman scene). 
3) The Truman Show (I never stopped believing scene).
4) Rope (Philip plays it in the piano). 
5) All about Eve (it's the only song Margo wants to listen at her party).

Do you remember any other movies that used classical music?

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  1. It is kind of cool, though, that film can introduce classical music to those who wouldn't otherwise listen to it. Like the guys I know who listen to Bach now because they heard it in Master and Commander (that film does a great job of using classical pieces for the score). I never got really hooked on opera until I saw A Room with a View.

    So, hey! Maybe instead of classical music being ruined, you just have a way in that lots of people are missing... people who won't seek it out beyond the pop culture. *smiles* God bless!

    1. That's such a great way of looking at it. So Hamlet was right: "nothing is either good or bad but thinking makes it so." I usually see in Youtube videos comments like: "like if such and such movie brought you here." Movies can make classical music more popular too.

      I also haven't watched the movies you mentioned - thanks for the recommendations, I'll definitely look them up!

      God bless, have a great weekend ;)

  2. I don't know. I love classical music and early jazz (mmm), so I gravitate towards that type of music and modern music that follows those musical trends. But I don't think that everyone has to listen to classical music or force themselves to listen to it. I mean, music is for pleasure, satisfaction, happiness. If listening to pop songs grants people those things, then why force them to listen to the classical music?

    I personally can't stand pop music, and am shocked when my friends force me to stop playing my GOOD music ;-), but to each his own, I guess.

    What do you think? Is classical music objectively better and so people should force themselves to listen to it?

  3. Early jazz? That's so classy! The only other person I know, besides you, who listens to jazz is Dickie Greenleaf from The Talented Mr. Ripley ;)

    I don't know, I guess people shouldn't force themselves to listen to classical music but I sure do. lol I mean, I could listen to pop on repeat 24/7 and know that that's not doing any good for me. I think classical music is more beautiful and in many ways more beneficial than pop, despite being more difficult and more demanding to listen to. This is why I'm trying to listen to more classical music than pop. (Please do tell what composers I should start with. I really appreciate any recommendations!)

    If it is objectively better - that's rather difficult, specially for me because I know absolutely nothing about music. I'll ask my sister though ;)

    Have a great weekend!

    1. You know, I wish I could be classier and give you a list of composers, but since I often just listen to the Early Jazz station on Pandora, I do not know specific artists. But here's a list from Wikipedia!

      Louis Armstrong (1901–71)
      Sidney Bechet (1897–1959)
      Bix Beiderbecke (1903–31)
      Buddy Bolden (1877–1930)
      Earl Hines (1903–83)
      Bunk Johnson (1879/1889–1949)
      Nick LaRocca (1889–1961) & the members of the "Original Dixieland Jazz Band"
      Jelly Roll Morton (1890–1941)
      Joe "King" Oliver (1885–1938)
      Red Nichols (1905–65)
      Count Basie (1904–84)
      Cab Calloway (1907–94)
      Benny Carter (1907–2003)
      Charlie Christian (1918–42)
      Jimmy Dorsey (1904–57)
      Tommy Dorsey (1905–56)
      Duke Ellington (1899–1974)
      Benny Goodman (1909–86)
      Coleman Hawkins (1904–69)
      Fletcher Henderson (1897–1952)
      Earl Hines (1903–83)
      Johnny Hodges (1907–70)
      Dick Johnson (1925–2010)
      Jay McShann (1916–2006)
      Glenn Miller (1904–44)
      George Paxton (1914–89)
      Artie Shaw (1910–2004)
      Clark Terry (born 1920)
      Fats Waller (1904–43)
      Ben Webster (1909–73)
      Paul Whiteman (1890–1967)
      Lester Young (1909–1959)


    2. Thanks a million! That's enough to keep me busy for a long time ;)

  4. I think coming to "high" culture through "low" culture is perfectly fine! For instance, I first came to the great Romanian/German/Jewish poet Paul Celan (who is difficult, intense and complex) through the music of U2 - the song "A Sort of Homecoming" was partly inspired by his work. I think this is fantastic, honestly! I think it's quite likely I would have come to him one way or another, but why not through U2?

    My dad loves classical music and always had records on at dinnertime and such. I studied classical music for years (mainly piano) and listened to a lot. But...I admit I now have a greater love for rock music. (I love Def Leppard!!). But I still go to classical music concerts and they fill up a hole in my soul. I think the main thing is to appreciate what you can, as much as possible.

    Some of my favourite classical music includes the Brahms Violin Concerto, Chopin's Nocturnes (actually, pretty much anything by Chopin - the Polonaises and Preludes are also so fantastic), and Sibelius's Finlandia.

  5. It seems it doesn't really matter how you get to "high" culture as long as you get there, doesn't it?

    How nice that you played the piano (my sister does too) and had a love for classical music from an early age. I have no musical talents whatsoever!

    Thanks so much for the recommendations! I can't wait to hear them. Since we're on the subject, don't you think Chopin looked a lot like Steve Coogan? (

    Enough non-sense from me, have a great Sunday!

  6. Paula, excellent topic of conversation, for one of my favorite opera arias came via a TV gasoline ad. Whoa, Tommy & Jimmy Dorsey! I bet you will be dancing all around.Benny Goodman too. By the way, The Barber of Seville is the overture for Prizzi's Honor & Stallone's Oscar. The opening titles for Trading Places: Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro.
    And let the music play !!!!

  7. A gasoline ad? That's so funny! I'm happy it's not just me then!

    Thanks for the heads up, I'll change it. (What would I do without you?!) xx

  8. Whenever you go and where ever you go. Be it the spa, a hotel or any-where else, its not the surrounding that gets inside you, it`s the inspirational music that plays with your mind and the environment around you..


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