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Classical Music Is Cool

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Classical Music has a reputation for being endless, boring, and stuffy. The Classical Music Is Cool trope challenges this by often having a character who initially dislikes classical music become excitedly rapturous after actually listening to a symphony or opera (thus also overlapping with I Do Not Like Green Eggs and Ham).

Other times, this trope can be used in works where there are clashing "cultured" and "uncultured" groups who favor classical and popular (usually rock) music respectively. After both groups take the time to listen to the music they say they hate, both groups eventually agree that there's merit in both popular and classical music thereby leading to an Aesop about why it's good to keep an open mind on cultural matters.

This trope also can be invoked to show hidden depths and/or sensitivity in a lower-class/ middle-class male who seems loutish upon first glance. Or maybe he's motivated to appreciate music because he's developed an interest in an Elegant Classical Musician.

Further see Orchestral Bombing and Rock Me, Amadeus!. The polar opposite of Classical Music Is Boring. Also compare and contrast At the Opera Tonight, when what's cool is not so much the music itself but that it gives people a chance to hang out at a high society event.



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  • This ad for "Classical Thunder".

  • In this strip from Calvin and Hobbes, the 1812 Overture was being played and Hobbes pointed out to Calvin that those weren't drums in the symphony, but cannons. Calvin's appreciation of the piece greatly increases with this revelation. Another comic has him put on a record and dancing to it like it is the coolest song ever, but then it revealed that he is playing classical music with the RPM sped up, to his parent's annoyance, especially since he is doing it in the middle of the night.
  • In V for Vendetta, the masked vigilante keeps a room full of rare high culture artifacts in his Elaborate Underground Base, including many recordings of classical music, which he deeply appreciates. Evey, who has never heard such a thing, is overawed.
  • Schroeder in Peanuts plays classical music on his toy piano. Snoopy is his biggest fan.

    Fan Works 
  • The Bolt Chronicles: Bolt, Mittens, Rhino, Penny, and Penny's mom are portrayed as avid consumers of art and culture in all forms, including classical music. This is particularly true of Mittens, who is often shown listening to this, as is Bolt at times. Even Rhino — much to his and Mittens's surprise — is entranced by a TV broadcast of Porgy and Bess by George Gershwin. Penny’s mom is presented as being a former high school teacher prior to the TV show’s run, with a specialty in cultural appreciation; she has a huge collection of vintage pop and classical music compact discs.
  • In the Discworld as seen by A.A. Pessimal, Famke Smith-Rhodes-Stibbons, a girl vectored to Percussion as a despairing attempt to instil some musical ability in hernote  has fallen in love with orchestral pieces that involve the percussion section making a lot of noise. She absolutely adores Wotua Doiunov's celebration of a long-ago war between Quirm and Rodinia, the Just After Ten past Six In The Evening Overture. Because of its unique use of artillery.

    Film - Live Action 
  • Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure: A large crowd gathers to hear Beethoven play the modern-day keyboards at the mall.
  • A Clockwork Orange: The Villain Protagonist Alex DeLarge, is a hip young hooligan who is outfitted in the height of fashion and attends all the most popular hangouts. He's also a fan of classical music, with his favorite composer being Beethoven. Classical music seems to be more popular in this future dystopia than it is today, though much of what we hear is synthesized versions, and evidenced by Dim's reaction to the singer at the milk bar, it's not universally admired by the youth.
  • Diva: When Jules and Alba first meet, they bond when he plays her his bootlegged tape of opera singer Cynthia Hawkins, and Alba is amazed by her singing voice. It's a recurring theme that the protagonists in Diva truly love and appreciate music, while the antagonists either treat it with disdain (the crooked cops) or only appreciate music as a way to make money (the Taiwanese gangsters).
  • Not quite "classical," but still in the spirit of the trope: In Drumline the band director tries to teach his students to appreciate the classics of pop, such as Earth, Wind & Fire, which the students tend to dismiss as old, stuffy, and out of date. By the end, some of the students write a new routine that incorporates both modern music and the classics.
  • Liberal Arts: Zibby is a firm believer of this. She suggests protagonist Jesse Fischer to listen to them, who in turn gets to like them as well after listening to them gave him new outlook and perception. The two bond over their new shared interest during the first Time Passes Montage, complete with Public Domain Soundtrack.
  • In Mr. Holland's Opus, this is part of Mr. Holland's job as a music teacher, to get kids to appreciate classical music. At one point he demonstrates the connection between Sandy Linzer and Denny Randell's "A Lover's Concerto" (as recorded by the Toys) and Christian Petzold's Minuet in G major,note  much to the amazement of the students (and disapproval from the administration).
  • Warrior: One of the two protagonists uses Beethoven's "Ode to Joy" as his entrance theme. His coach is a firm believer of the trope, citing it eases mental tension.

  • Eroica Witt from The Amy Virus loves classical music so much, she renamed herself after a Beethoven symphony.
  • In Borgel, the titular Cool Uncle Borgel introduces the main character to classical music on the radio and he finds it really interesting and enlightening.
  • In Kafka on the Shore, the lower-middle-class Hoshino is exposed to classical music during his journey with Nakata, and develops an appreciation for it, realizing that it's not the stuffy, boring sort of music he thought it was.
  • A Clockwork Orange: Alex, our Villain Protagonist, is a hip young hooligan who dresses in the height of youth fashion and loves classical music, particularly Beethoven, and most particularly the 9th Symphony. In the end, he's given a job working with music, obviously informed by his classical tastes.

    Live Action TV 
  • In Dexter, senior FBI Agent Frank Lundy introduces Debra Morgan to Chopin, which helps develop their May–December Romance.
  • Ned's Declassified School Survival Guide: After being in a music appreciation class that many use as an excuse to nap, Moze comes to appreciate Mozart's more bombastic and lively pieces when they help her in a volleyball game.
  • In the Power Rangers Zeo episode "Instruments of Destruction", it is revealed that Skull is a talented piano player, but refuses to admit it to the people because he believes that it would make him lose his macho cred and lose the respect of his friend Bulk, who hates classical music. After convincing from Adam, Skull agrees to do a performance in front of the school. His skills wow the audience, with Bulk confronting him and admitting that it was the most beautiful thing he had ever heard.
  • Boy Meets World: Mr. Feeny drags Erik to an opera and the teenager bemoans it all the way until it actually starts. Turns out he's a fan of "Ride of the Valkyries" because it reminds him of Bugs Bunny.
  • Dewey from Malcolm in the Middle becomes enraptured after seeing an opera on TV and spends the episode struggling to write his own. Prior to this, he had already shown an aptitude for classical piano music.
  • Sliders:
    • Professor Arturo very much enjoys classical music, saying in "The Guardian" that going to an opera is as entertaining for him as seeing an Indiana Jones movie is for others. note 
    • To Arturo's surprise, Rembrandt is also something of a fan. While not in a rush to go to the opera or a classical music concert, Rembrandt is a professional singer, so he considered it a must to know and respect the greats. He is able to identify a piece of classical music just by hearing a brief snippet, which impresses Arturo.
  • Top Gear has James May, known for driving around Cool Cars of all types, but who also studied classical music in college. His penchant for the classics is exemplified in one episode where the presenters are challenged to get a car for a 17 year-old on a budget. The presenters are allowed to use the money they don't spend on the car itself to make their car "cooler." James spends his extra money on a ridiculously huge stereo and speaker system for his car... and then proceeds to use it to play Bach.
  • In the My Family episode "Droit de Seigneur Ben", Ben is horrified when Susan reveals that she has two tickets to a performance of Mozart's Don Giovanni, so she insists that he listen to a recording while reading the libretto before they see it live. He ends up enjoying it immensely.

    Video Games 
  • Best of Three: Grant likes classical music. In particular, Mozart's Requiem, which he finds "as articulate, and as moving, as a speech in words".
  • Invoked by Wheatley in Portal 2 where he plays classical music so as to "prove" to Chell and GlaDoS that he is not a moron.
  • No Straight Roads: One of the bosses is Yinu (or rather, her mother), a classically-trained pianist. Her playing is good enough that Zuke notes, "We just got schooled by a little kid."

    Visual Novels 
  • Played surprisingly strait with the protagonist of Melody, who is shown playing a classical cello piece for Melody after teaching her how to play the instrument.

    Web Originals 
  • This is the raison d'être of TwoSet Violin – they set out to prove classical music can be enjoyed by younger generations like pop music and should be treated with more respect, and classical musicians can be casual and relatable.

    Western Animation 
  • Arthur. D.W. gets Yo-Yo Ma to come to the library to play the cello. Arthur and his friends are sure it's going to be boring. Francine has invited her uncle, jazz musician Joshua Redman, for the same day. The kids hope that the two will get into a fight. An Imagine Spot has them in a wrestling ring; Ma pulls out his cello and puts Redman to sleep. But on the day of the meeting it actually goes well, both get along and Redman expresses his enjoyment of classical music.
  • One episode of Iron Man: The Animated Series had a girl who learned to appreciate her piano lessons after using the sound of pianos to repair Iron Man's armor.
  • An episode of Kick Buttowski starts with Kick's father instructing him to practice piano. He adds that Kick is not to leave the piano. After a few failed workarounds, Kick decides to go wherever he pleases and take the piano with him. He tries his stunts as usual and finds that when he's doing so, he can play the piano perfectly. Furthermore, he finds out that he really enjoys it.
  • Cartoons like What's Opera, Doc?, Rabbit of Seville, The Band Concert, The Cat Concerto and others would not nearly be as hilarious without classical music, either as the source of gags or as Standard Snippets. Also, Mickey Mousing (making the actions in cartoons follow those in the musical score) often uses classical music.
  • In the Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventures episode "The Birth of Rock and Roll, or: Too Hip For the Womb", the boys fetch Mozart and Little Richard to show how rock and roll and classical music compliment each other.

Video Example(s):


1812 Overture

Performed by the JGSDF Eastern Army Band, 1st Band, and 12th Band, with special appearance by a battery of M101 105mm howitzers.

How well does it match the trope?

4.6 (15 votes)

Example of:

Main / EverythingIsAnInstrument

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