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How Classical Inspired Modern Music – Part 2

We still need to talk about Schubert

A number of these basic songwriting rules have continued to be just that: Basic! The songs of Leonard Cohen, Simon and Garfunkel, and Adele would have even seemed familiar to Schubert, with regards to the chords, how the verse leads into the chorus, the piano accompaniment, and the shape. The one thing about Adele’s music that might take Schubert by surprise is that it was written by a woman.Schubert found the same thing that many modern songwriters have done- writing one random song after another is pointless and that it’s a far more satisfying form to write 20 songs as a journey, that’s exactly what he achieved with his sing cycles. These are longer pieces that take people on his journey, with each individual song forming the next part of the story. That sounds suspiciously like that of an album.If you remove all of that and ponder on what he’s trying to achieve, he’s simply trying to impose songs about love (actually, unrequited love or attempting to solve life’s mysteries) while making these songs instantly enjoyable at the same time. As Schubert was so young, some of the songs have a degree of naivety about them, along with a delicacy that doesn’t necessarily work with the modern world. That aside, he was also trying to write something that appealed to the masses who could enjoy his music, whether at home or at play.That isn’t all too entirely different from Adele. Her songs, which are based on a piano format, with a verse-chorus form, talk about romance and love. She shapes her voice around that, expresses her emotions, and with the format and the length and all these things, she simply wants people to enjoy listening to her music.


Beethoven managed to change the entire point of music. The musician was at one with his work. The work reflected the man’s inner turmoil. At this time, there was a broad cultural movement that saw poets and artists doing the same. In the field of music, however, Beethoven was the first. Groups that were popular in the 70’s, such as Pink Floyd and Yes, attempted to do the very same thing and express their biggest ideas in instrumental sections on concept albums. Beethoven’s impact was stronger in classical music than it was in pop, as he expressed his emotions through music, as opposed to words. He wrote private and bleak string quartets at the end of his life to such a degree that it felt like being in a counselling room with him. Hector Berlioz, however, took the demonic or divine, and isolated genius to new levels. The Frenchman created the perception of the isolate, deranged, crazy-haired composer that still exists today. He was at the forefront of a mid-19th-century obsession with destiny, death, and doomed love, writing epic music that would embrace all aspects of life. But Berlioz had something in common with the rest of us: he had an obsession with Beethoven.