Classical music is about delicate instrumental musical forms like the concerto, symphony, sonata, etc. But it’s not only about concerts in philharmonic. Let’s look at examples of using classical music in movies and commercials and point out the patterns you can use while creating your videos.
Surprisingly, classical music is the best choice for horror movies. No other genre can emphasize the sinister and disturbing atmosphere like good old classics. Like no other genre, it conveys the thrill of the action. And here, the music and the picture on the screen must be proportionate and developing at the same time. The music enhances the significance of events and adds to the plot’s tension.
What kind of music would be the ideal accompaniment for the infinite cosmic space? Let’s ask Stanley Kubrick. And the answer is classical music. Unlike in horror movies, in sci-fi, classical music plays on contrasts.
First, it goes with a subtle sound that heightens anxiety and keeps the audience in tension. As if it was the viewer getting ready to hit outer space. Then the melody bursts into ecstasy, and the instruments begin to play epic.
Classical music might also underline hilarious moments in cartoons or comedies. In this case, more rhythmic musical pieces fit best. Here’s a legendary example from Tom and Jerry:
Also, classical music can be epic and soaring. It finds good company in films with similarly immersive intentions. That martial horn refrain, both ominous and triumphant, makes a perfect pair with the mood and details of the scene. Looking at this alliance closely, we can figure out the clue that makes the scene so powerful. It is a thematic, dynamic, and visual match.
Classical music can express the deep and painful sufferings of a character. The darkest and dramatic times a person is going through. If your video is in the drama category, this genre might be a perfect choice to underline such feelings. Listen to this glorious prelude shown in Lars von Trier’s work. It’s nothing but breathtaking.
Director David Lin knew what music to choose for his famous love story “Brief Encounter.” The slow movement of Rachmaninov’s piano concerto brought exactly those emotions. How? Through the piano touch. As a result, we get the most heart-wrenching combination.
Now, let’s consider classical music in a more practical context. Advertisers know well that music is an excellent aid to selling a particular lifestyle.
According to Charles Areni and David Kim’s research, we often associate classical music with luxurious products. It evokes a sense of prestige, status, or a refined taste.
Also, classical music usually implies a sort of upper-class education and intellectual development. Take a look at the example below. Do you recognize the melody?
It is a jazz-funk piece based on Strauss’s “Also Sprach Zarathustra.” We’ve already seen the iconic example of its usage above. Movie lovers will recognize the music and the sunrise as references to Kubrick’s film “Space Odyssey.”
Classical music also works like a charm if used unexpectedly. Forget about jewelry, expensive cars, and IQ level. It’s time to laugh! Don’t be scared to break the rules. Look at this beer commercial that received over 30 awards internationally, including a Gold Lion award at Cannes.
Do you know more great examples of using classical music in videos to add to this post? Please share them with us.
And don’t forget about Fugue, our awesome collection of tracks. Feel free to use them in your work and tag us on your social media.
About the author: Lisa Zelenskaya, music producer at Fugue. Passionate about music and media. She explores new genres, styles, and musicians even in her spare time. She also loves teaching kids and presenting new artists to the audience.
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