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Rock Me, Amadeus!
Where an artist takes a Standard Snippet or other piece of classical music and incorporates it into their song. Could be small snippet of the piece or much longer. Might result in Crowning Music of Awesome when done properly.

Speculatively, the motivations for classical sampling are:
  • Importing a sense of gravitas and substance.
  • A way of highlighting the qualities of classical and pop music by contrasting them.
  • Simply as a useful gimmick to make a song stand out.

A Sub-Trope of Sampling that normally gets around pesky legal issues by virtue of most classical music falling into the public domain. Named after the song by Falco, which, contrary to the title, does not use this trope.

Not to be confused with Rock Me, Asmodeus!. Nor with Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, although his music is likely to show up. See also Public Domain Soundtrack.


Examples:

  • Accept has several of these:
    • Sodom & Gomorrah has an excerpt of Sabre Dance by Aram Khachaturian.
    • Metal Heart has an excerpt of Tchaikovsky's Slavonic March in the intro and one of Beethoven's Für Elise in the guitar solo.
    • The standalone guitar solo from the live album Staying a Life has an excerpt of In the Hall of the Mountain King by Edvard Grieg.
    • The live version of Balls to the Wall from the same album has an introductory section based on the "fate" leitmotif from Carmen by Georges Bizet.
    • They also did an arrangement of the Trio section of Pomp and Circumstance March No. 1 by Edward Elgar (a.k.a. Land of Hope and Glory), titled simply Pomp and Circumstance.
  • In the Hall of the Mountain King by Edvard Grieg is popular choice:
  • Beethoven's Ninth in Rainbow's Difficult to Cure.
  • Strangely enough, Rock Me Amadeus by Falco contains merely a snippet from Beethoven's 5th at the very end.
    • Falco's Vienna Calling begins with a few bars of The Blue Danube by Strauss.
  • Christian Petzold's Minuet in G in the Toys' A Lover's Concerto.
  • Muzio Clementi's Sonatina No. 5 in G Major in the Mindbenders' A Groovy Kind of Love.
  • Beethoven's Pathétique
    • A movement from is used in Billy Joel's This Night.
    • And the theme from Roughnecks: Starship Trooper Chronicles.
  • Johann Sebastian Bach's Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring:
    • Apollo 100's song Joy is a rock version.
    • She Don't Care About Time by The Byrds has a guitar solo based on it.
    • Briefly quoted in a bass fill on The Kinks' "Wicked Annabella".
  • A sample of the Flower Duet from Léo Delibes opera Lakmé occurs in in David Usher's Black Black Heart.
  • A full adaption of Also Sprach Zarathustra by Richard Strauss in Deodato's funky song of the same name.
  • Play with Me by Extreme features riffs from various classical pieces including Mozart's Alla turca and Vivaldi's The Four Seasons.
  • Jazz pianists, especially from around the bebop era, tend to have a couple of classical measures in their improvs. As an earlier example, Fats Waller was apparently a fan of In The Hall Of The Mountain King, as he occasionally mixed pieces of the melody into his tunes, most notably in Viper's Drag.
  • The guitar solo in Spinal Tap's Heavy Duty is the Boccherini minuet. According to the DVD commentary, that was actually the finale to a very intricate and inventive ten-minute solo, but Marty cut it down for time, and made Nigel look like a hack. To make matters worse, the short version made it onto the soundtrack, and is the only one most people have ever heard.
  • The Enigma album The Screen Behind The Mirror samples O Fortuna to such an extent that you could say it's O Fortuna with samples of ambient 1990's electonica.
  • Special mention goes to Andrew Lloyd Webber, who has a doggedly negative reputation for copying Puccini. The similarities are real but not as slavish as commonly reported e.g. commonalities in the central theme from Puccini's La fanciulla del West and ALW's Music of the Night. It is interesting that a little bit of copying followed by denial caused an uproar whereas other artists copy big chunks of classical music wholesale with apparent acceptability. It doesn't help that ALW's work tends to repeat.
  • Dvorak's Symphony No. 9 forms the basis of Blind Guardian's By the Gates of Moria.
  • Indie darkwave/new wave band Thou Shalt Not borrows From The New World symphony as well, for their most recent single — unsurprisingly titled, New World.
  • The Killers had Mr Brightside turn into Ode To Joy.
  • Bach's Toccata and Fugue in D Minor
    • Plug-in Baby by Muse starts with the opening.
    • The basis for the Gyruss theme song.
    • "Bach onto This" could even count as a Homage.
    • A Touhou music arrange for Kanako Yasaka's theme, Suwa Foughten Field, begins with the opening.
    • "Golbez, Clad in Darkness" from Final Fantasy IV quotes it as well.
    • Eurobeat Brony's "Discord" uses the Fugue for its intro.
  • Chuck Berry's Roll Over Beethoven begins with the famous "Da-Da-Da-DUN!" opening from Beethoven's Symphony No. 5 and has been covered by everybody from ELO to The Beatles.
    • The Electric Light Orchestra version deserves special mention, for taking the song and building an entire suite around it - based on the Fifth Symphony, of course.
  • Adagio in G Minor by Remo Giazotto.
    • Albinoni vs. Star Wars by Sigue Sigue Sputnik opens with a quotation.
    • Cold is Being by the band Renaissance is essentially Adagio in G Minor set to lyrics.
    • "Albinoni" by Rollerball (Above & Beyond). DJ Tiesto also did a remix titled "Athena", on Parade of the Athletes.
  • Renaissance is pretty much built on this trope, actually.
  • Sting's Russians uses the melody from Sergei Prokofiev's Romance, part of his Lieutenant Kije Suite.
  • Overused by Emerson, Lake & Palmer, who did at least one classical-to-rock full conversion on every album. As did Keith Emerson's previous band The Nice (later reformed for nostalgic reunion concerts)
  • William Orbits album Pieces In A Modern Style is Exactly What It Says on the Tin. However, the most widely recognized track from the album, Barbers Adagio For Strings was a remix by Ferry Corsten, misleading people into thinking the whole album was dance music.
    • Tiesto and Armin van Buuren have also done remixes. Some DJ's have also sampled or remixed from other remixes.
  • Bomani D'Mite Armah's Read a Book turns Beethoven's 5th Symphony into a Lil' Jon-style rap song. It's a parody advising its target audience to take up good habits such as reading books and drinking water instead of beer.
  • Johann Pachelbel's Canon in D has inspired a great many songs with its chord progression. Jerry C even played the entire tune rock & roll style.
    • The opening of Vitamin C's "Graduation (Friends Forever)" directly quotes the piece, although a step lower in pitch.
  • Pet Shop Boys, All Over The World opens with a synthesised Standard Snippet of a Tchaikovsky piece.
  • Nas' I Can uses the beginning of Beethoven's Für Elise.
  • Classical composers liked quoting too:
    • Tchaikovsky famously copied the "Marseillaise" and the then-Russian national anthem for the 1812 Overture and a number of Italian songs for the Capriccio Italien.
    • Beethoven took 'Rule, Britannia' and 'God Save the King' for his Wellington's Victory (Op. 91) along with the French 'Malbrough s'en va-t en guerre' (identical to 'For He's a Jolly Good Fellow'), reputedly Napoleon's favourite tune.
    • Brahms' "Academic Festival Overture" is made up of quotations from traditional collegiate songs such as "Gaudeamus Igitur."
    • Aaron Copland made an art form out of reworking and rephrasing American folk tunes, the best known of which is his use of the Shaker hymn "Simple Gifts" in Appalachian Spring.
  • Evanescence's Lacrymosa samples the opening of the Lacrimosa from Mozart's Requiem throughout the whole song.
  • Hollenthon does this all the time. Lords of Bedlam samples the Romeo and Juliet tune to great effect.
  • Apotheosis has done O Fortuna but it only really becomes Crowning Music of Awesome in the Excalibur remix.
  • Chumbawumba's Tubthumping includes the Prince of Denmark's March at the end.
  • Sweetbox's Everything's Gonna Be Alright is based around Air on the G String, from Bach's Orchestral Suite No.3.
  • Walter Murphy and the Big Apple Band's A Fifth of Beethoven quotes Beethoven's Symphony No. 5 in C minor. It was most famously used in the film Saturday Night Fever. Also in the film was David Shire's funky reworking of Mussorgsky's Night on Bald Mountain, which was called Night on Disco Mountain.
    • Following Murphy's hit a group called The Philarmonics gave similar treatment to Für Elise. "For Elise" peaked at #100 on Billboard's Hot 100.
  • Trans Siberian Orchestra's Requiem samples the famous intro to Beethoven's 5th. Requiem is part a rock opera titled Beethoven's Last Night. It also includes snippets of Mozart and Flight of the Bumblebee.
    • Indeed, pretty much the entirety of the TSO's output that isn't Christmas stuff is this. Beethoven's Last Night contains at least the Moonlight Sonata, the Pathetique, Fur Elise and the 5th (and a lot more Beethoven, of course), Mozart's overture to Figaro, and Rachmaninov's Flight of the Bumblebee. Nightcastle contains an actual Hall of the Mountain King (see crossover with Savatage below), Verdi's Requiem, Orff's Carmina Burana, and a cover of the Nutrocker (which of course is itself B Bumble and the Stingers' cover of Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker).
    • Some of their Christmas music is this as well. Excluding original tracks and arrangements based on traditional Christmas carols, "Christmas Canon" is based on Pachabel's Canon in D, "Mad Russian's Christmas" is based on the Nutcracker Suite, and "Wish Liszt(Toy Shop Madness)" is based on Liszt's Hungarian Dances
    • Savatage has also dipped into this trope. Their song "Hall of the Mountain King" didn't actually sample any of Edvard Grieg's "Hall of the Mountain King", but their "Prelude to Madness", an extended intro to "Hall...", did.
  • Eric Carmen's self-pitying hit "All By Myself" is based on the main theme from the slow movement of Sergei Rachmaninoff's Second Piano Concerto.
  • Malice Mizer made incredibly liberal use of this, to the point where you didn't even to know about classical to spot it. The main source seemed to be guitarist and bandleader Mana, because his new project, Moi Dix Mois, does the same thing.
  • Finnish Thrash Metal band Stone open their album No Anaesthesia! with a metal rendition of Jean Sibelius' Finlandia.
  • The Brian Setzer Orchestra album Wolfgang's Big Night Out contains swing versions of several recognizable classical works. Notably, Plead the Fifth has the oveture to Beethoven's 5th Symphony, For Lisa quotes Fur Elise, the title track quotes Mozart's Eine Kliene Nachtmusik, One More Night With You references Greig's Hall of the Mountain King and Some River In Europe samples Strauss' Blue Danube. In their first Christmas album, they also did their version of The Nutcracker Suite, which was based on an arrangement originally performed in the '40s by Les Brown and his Band of Renown.
  • Nile's Ramses, Bringer of War is based on Mars, Bringer of War from Holst's The Planets.
  • End of the Century from Dance Dance Revolution 3rd Mix samples Beethoven's Ninth Symphony.
  • Speed Over Beethoven from DDR Extreme samples Fur Elise.
    • "Can't You Feel My Love" by the same artist (although not featured in DDR) samples the third movement of the Moonlight Sonata.
  • Beethoven Virus from Pump It Up samples Beethoven's Sonata Pathétique (Piano Sonata No. 8 in C minor, Op. 13). "Canon D", is of course, Pachelbel's Canon.
    • In fact, at least 70% of BanYa's catalog for the series is this. To name a few: "Sorceress Elise" to Beethoven'sFur Elise, "Turkey March" to Mozart's Rondo Alla Turca, and "Winter" to Vivaldi's L'invierno.
  • V and V2 from beatmania IIDX samples Concerto No. 4 in F minor, Op. 8, RV 297, L'inverno (Winter) from Vivaldi's The Four Seasons.
  • Kakumei from beatmania IIDX 7th Style and DDRMAX2 is a dance remix of Chopin's Etude #12, also known as the Revolutionary Etude. (Hence the name, which is Japanese for "revolution".)
  • About a third of the soundtrack of Dance Dance Revolution: Mario Mix consists of remixes of classical music.
  • Instrumental track "Fuck You" by Satan has a part of Mozart's Eine Kleine Nachtmusik in it.
  • The Ranma 1/2 opening theme song Zettai! Part 2 uses the intro to Mozart's Eine Kleine Nachtmusik to open and end the song.
  • The intro for Eine Kleine Nachtmusik is also used in the Psychonauts soundtrack, from the level where Raz helps Sasha Nein defeat the censors.
  • The 2112 Overture by Rush includes a snippet of the 1812 Overture. Get it?
  • The outro of Necrophagist's Only Ash Remains is part of Sergei Prokofiev's Romeo and Juliet suite.
  • Live versions of Heartbreaker by Led Zeppelin often include a snippet of Bach's Bourrée in E minor.
  • The Vintersorg song For Kung Och Fosterland, from the album Till Fjalls, features the signature melody from Grieg's Hall of the Mountain King from Peer Gynt. He is thanked in the credits.
  • Thicke's When I get you alone has Beethoven's Fifth as the main riff.
  • Earth, the Circle Part 1 by Manfred Mann's Earth Band includes some melodic phrases from both the left-hand and right-hand parts of "Jimbo's Lullaby" (from Children's Corner) by Claude Debussy, the right-hand part becoming a vocal melody with lyrics.
  • Megadeth's Symphony Of Destruction has a piece of Mozart's Requiem (K. 626) - Domine Jesu Christe at the start. Also Last Rites, based on Johann Sebastian Bach's Toccata and Fugue in D minor (BWV 565).
  • Repent Walpurgis by Procol Harum contains an excerpt of Johann Sebastian Bach's Prelude No. 1 in C major (BWV 846).
    • Procul Harum's greatest hit was Whiter Shade of Pale - based on Bach's Air on the G String
  • Rhapsody of Fire's 10 minute epic The Wizard's Last Rhymes borrows heavily from the 4th movement of Dvorak's New World Symphony.
    • On their album From Chaos To Eternity, the songs "Tempesta di Fuoco" and "Heroes of the Waterfalls' Kingdom" both borrow from Beethoven's Piano Sonata #1 in F Minor.
  • German punk band Die Toten Hosen have an album called Ein Kleines Bisschen Horrorshow — "A Little bit of Horrorshow" — which has quite a few bits and pieces of Beethoven's Ninth in it. The songs reference A Clockwork Orange a lot, so this makes sense when you think about it. The first song is even called Here Comes Alex.
  • Sol Bloom's 1893 song "The Streets of Cairo, or The Poor Little Country Maid" is popular as a comically stereotypical Standard Snippet for vaguely Middle Eastern settings, so there's no surprise it's been referenced quite a lot.
    • It pops up, drastically slowed down and made to sound menacing, as the main riff of Funkadelic's "You Scared the Lovin' Outta Me".
    • David Bromberg's "Sharon" has the instrumental introduction (which was Sampled Up by the Beastie Boys for "Johnny Ryall") include a violin solo which begins by quoting "The Streets of Cairo".
    • Patrick Cowley's "Menergy" has a synth solo that also begins with the snippet before veering into another place entirely.
    • It is quoted in Frank Zappa's "The Grand Wazoo".
    • It's reused in Can's "Hoolah Hoolah".
    • Perhaps not surprisingly, it's also interpolated into "Istanbul Not Constantinople" by The Four Lads/They Might Be Giants.
    • Ke$ha's Take It Off uses "The Streets of Cairo" for its entire chorus.
    "There's a place in France downtown where the naked ladies dance freaks all come around
    There's It's a hole in the wall where the men can see it it's a dirty free for all"
  • Hips Don't Lie by Shakira uses a trumpet part from Deja Vu (Uptown Baby) by Lord Tariq and Peter Gunz.
  • God Diva from the Japanese Duo Ali Project samples The Magic Flute Queen of the Night Aria by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.
  • A sample from Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker Suite is used as the "Game Start" tune for the Japan-only NES game Devil World. A longer sample would be used in the Devil World level on Art Style: PICTOBITS in a short, but awesome remix.
    • As almost every fan knows, Dance of the Sugarplum Fairy appears in the licensed NES version of Tetris. The Game Boy version uses the Russian folk song "Korobeiniki" instead.
  • Frank Zappa's guitar solo on the live version of "Status Back Baby" is Stravinsky's "Petrushka".
    • Zappa also inverted it by working in "Louie Louie" in orchestral piece "Welcome To The United States."
  • The Beatles start "All You Need Is Love" with the first few bars of the "Marseillaise". In the cacophony towards the end, you can also hear a saxophone playing the first line from Glenn Miller's "In the Mood".
  • The chorus of ABBA's "Lay All Your Love On Me" is based on Modest Mussorgsky's "A Night on Bald Mountain."
  • Pink Martini often quotes classical music and popular melodies. Their song "The Gardens of Sampson and Beasley" manages to quote Delibes' "Flower Duet" and "Oh My Darling Clementine" in quick succession.
  • When I Get You Alone by Robin Thicke features a heavy sample of Beethovens Symphony number 5.
  • The Beatles' "Because" is based off Beethoven's "Moonlight Sonata"; John asked Yoko to play the chords of "Sonata" backwards while writing it, but it still sounds like the original.
  • Emilie Autumn, being a classically trained violinist and harpsichordist, provides a few examples:
    • "Juliet" has the chorus of "Greensleeves" around the end. It's at 4:47 in this video.
    • "Save You" ends with a few bars of Pachelbel's Canon.
    • Her cover of Cyndi Lauper's "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun" interpolates Fucik's "Entrance of the Gladiators", better known as the Standard Snippet for circus music, played on the cello.
  • P.D.Q Bach usually produces pieces which are nothing but quotations from classical music ... and popular music, and jazz music, and nursery tunes, and ... and ... and
  • "Tell" from In The Groove 2 is a techno remix of Rossini's William Tell Overture. "Vorsprung Durch Techno" and "Summer in Belize" are based on the Spring and Summer movements, respectively, of Vivaldi's Four Seasons.
  • Sound Horizon's "Yoiyami no Uta" includes snippets of classical pieces in rapid succession: Beethoven's "Ode to Joy", Chopin's "Fantaisie-Impromptu", and Mussorgsky's "Pictures at an Exhibition".
  • As the title implies, electronica group Lamb's song "Górecki" is built around a sample from Górecki's Third Symphony.
  • Deborah Sasson's "Carmen (Danger in Her Eyes)" uses a snippet of "Habanera" from George Bizet's Carmen.
  • "Dido"(no relation to the singer) by Aria is based on "Dido's Lament" from the opera Dido & Aeneas.
  • Brazilian band Ultraje a Rigor has "Eu Gosto de Mulher", whose solo incorporates "Sabre Dance" (a Standard Snippet on Looney Tunes and Tom and Jerry, among others)
  • Several examples from Symphony X:
    • "Divine Wings of Tragedy" samples both Bach's Mass in B Minor and Holst's "Mars, Bringer of War" from the Planets Suite.
    • Interspersed within the album V-The New Mythology Suite are excerpts of both Verdi's and Mozart's Requiems, Bach's Concerto for Harpsichord in D minor (BWV 1052) and the cantata Ich habe meine Zuversicht (BWV 188), and Bartók's Concerto for Orchestra.
  • Candlemass's "Marche Funebre" is an arrangement of Chopin's Funeral March.
    • As well, the solo riff for "Waterwitch" is extremely reminiscent Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy.
  • The song that Roger composes in Rent is a rock version of "Musetta's Waltz" from La Bohème, the opera that the musical is based on.
  • Laserdance's "Voyage of Discovery" is a spacesynth version of Tchaikovsky's "Romeo and Juliet".
  • KMFDM's "Liebeslied" samples Karl Orff's "O Fortuna." Unfortunately for them, "O Fortuna" is not in the public domain and they were forced to re-edit the song to remove the sample (although it's still used when they play it live).
  • Love Sculpture had a 1968 UK hit with their rocked-up version of Sabre Dance by Aram Khachaturian (who was still alive at the time, though there seems to be no public record of his reaction).
  • "Strange Skies" by The Cruxshadows, the B-side of the single Valkyrie, quotes Wagner's Ride of the Valkyries. Ironically, "Valkyrie" itslef is not an example of this trope.
  • Another comic version appears in the album, "Spike Jones is Murdering the Classics!"
  • Rudebrat's "Amadeus (Mozart Dubstep Remix)" is Exactly What It Says on the Tin
  • Rednex's "Wild and Free" is built on the melody of Offenbach's "Infernal Galop" from "Orpheus in the Underworld." Most people know it best as "the cancan song."
  • Deep Purple's "Under the Gun" features the first four measures of "Pomp and Circumstance" as a bridge.
  • Tim Minchin: during one of the epic solos in Dark Side, he sneaks in a bit of Beethoven's Fur Elise.
  • A trademark of The Piano Guys, who combine classical motifs with the contemporary. Their version of "Mission Impossible" with Lindsey Stirling features a bit of Mozart's Piano Sonata No. 16 (performed in 5/4 time in a minor key), "Beethoven's Five Secrets" mixes elements of Beethoven's Symphony 5 into One Republic's "Secrets", and "Kung Fu Piano: Cello Ascends" combines Chopin's Prelude Opus 28 with "Oogway Ascends" from ''Kung Fu Panda".
  • Cytus has an entire chapter dedicated to modern arranges of classical songs.
  • Fitting the subject of the song, Sakanaction's "Bach no Senritsu o Yoru ni Kiita Sei Desu" ("Because Of Listening To Bach Melodies At Night") includes a short Bach snippet played on the piano.
  • Contemporary Christian music veteran David Meece recorded several songs that used classical songs as part of the basis or used snippets as an introduction; such as "This Time" (which used Chopin's "Revolutionary Etude" in C Minor for the introduction, bridge and ending) and "Falling Down" (based on a Mozart sonata). In Meece's case, it owed somewhat due to his classical training at the Peabody Conservatory of Music.
  • Inverted by Bill Bailey, who jokes that classical composers sneaked motifs from Cockney music into their works.

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alternative title(s): Classical Music Sampling
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