top of page

What led to the end of Classical Music?

We listen to a wide variety of genres of music from pop to jazz, hip-hop to electronic dance music. Some of us enjoy classical music. But it seems that classical music is dead. There are no new classical music compositions except for novelty music pieces and film scores. Although many music students dedicate their lives to playing and improving their skills in playing classical, unlike jazz, there is no new or progressive movement to this genre of music. What led to the end of classical music?

The decline of classical music

Despite the fact that there exists classical music radio channels as well as live orchestra performances, people no longer flood concert halls as they did in the 19th century. At that time, classical music was embraced by the masses while today, it’s regarded as a cultural relic.

Classical music was going strong up until the 1910s until popular music began to take over. First, there was jazz, then soul and blues that would move in to take attention away from classical. It was also around the 1910s that great classical music composers began to die and their replacements failed to materialise. So, what happened in the 1910s that triggered the end of classical music?

The hypothesis of classical music’s demise

We may point to War World One as the biggest event that took place in the 1910s that led to the end of Romanticism and the rise of Modernism. This constituted a substantial stylistic break from older forms of music. But still, modern forms of classical music did not emerge after the world. Why didn’t classical composers react to the change to create modern classical music?

There could be another reason besides the war, and that is the rise of technology and household appliances. It was the time when recorded sound and the radio was invented and gained widespread acceptance.

Change in medium

How could radio and recorded sound contribute to the end of classical music? It’s not so much how we listen to music, but rather, the medium used to create music. Classical music is made of complex compositions written on paper. The masterpiece of the composition itself surpasses the performer and performance itself. Popular music, on the other hand, contains simple structures and depends mostly on the performers themselves. In this way, popular musicians now had a chance to perform to as many people as possible via the radio, while classical music was limited to its compositions and live performances.

In addition, a popular musician could easily compose a piece for an entire chorus of singers and not have to sing the tunes himself. The piece could be shared by choirs and choruses all over the country. The orchestra on the other hand is complex to put a group together to perform on-stage. The orchestra consisted of many violins, percussions, and clarinets that for any composer to write classical music has to know exactly what musical instruments would be available to play his piece.

What do you think? Let us know if you agree with our hypothesis by dropping a comment on our post. If you are a fervent pop musician looking to form your own band, get in touch with us as we provide studio rentals at Ritmo Music Studio.

52 views0 comments


bottom of page