Robert Estrin - piano expert

What Influence Does Classical Music Have on Modern Popular Song?

Learn how modern pop music has a strong relationship with classical music

In this video, Robert talks about how classical music is still influencing modern music such as pop and other contemporary genres.

Released on May 6, 2020

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DISCLAIMER: The views and the opinions expressed in this video are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Virtual Sheet Music and its employees.

Video Transcription

Welcome to I'm Robert Estrin. A viewer question, Ploy asks, what's the benefit of classical music on modern popular song? Well, you think that modern music, what does that have to do with music from hundreds of years ago? Quite a bit really. Think about this. Music is a language, an evolving language. And I would go so far as to say modern popular song wouldn't exist without the roots of classical music. It's so obvious to those of us who have delved deeply into music theory and music history because you see a lineage of development. In fact, the whole idea a of a pop song, typically you have a verse, chorus, verse, chorus, a bridge, and then chorus, chorus, chorus, or some permutation of an ABACA form with different sections. Well, you know what? This goes back to sonata-allegro form and rondo forms. These have been around for centuries.

Not only that, but the whole harmonic language that is utilized in modern music is, to a great extent, something that developed hundreds of years ago. Now, this isn't to say that music doesn't continue to evolve because absolutely it does. Of course, the integration of Afro-Cuban rhythms in music with jazz and leading to rock and beyond, hip hop and rap. It's all a lineage. And you can see it and hear it if you appreciate the fact that it's a musical language that continues to grow and will continue growing. But if you took away the whole roots, what would you have left? You wouldn't have the flourishing that we see today. So certainly an understanding, or at least an appreciation of classical music will serve you well if you're writing in contemporary styles.

Now, there are some exceptions to this. There are some styles that are so far off field, so experimental styles that maybe have little to do with the roots of classical music. But that's really the exception rather than the rule. So for those of you who are delving into composition of popular songs, songwriters, a good understanding of classical harmony is invaluable for you. You will see so many things that will open your eyes to possibilities in your writing. So I hope that helps you, Ploy. Once again, I'm Robert Estrin here at, your online piano store. And please subscribe if you like these videos. See you next time.
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