What pop music owes to the classical masters

All styles of music feed into each other. Which is why Adele's songs owe everything to Schubert and sampling wouldn't exist without Dvorák, Howard Goodall tells Imogen Tilden

Mozart pleases his public

The years 1650 to 1750 were a period of feverish invention and technical ingenuity in music that reached an apotheosis in Handel's sublime oratorios and Bach's cantatas and Passions. Bach was probably the cleverest composer who ever lived; the mind-boggling complexity of much of his late music, in particular, has yet to be matched by any composer. But, as often happens in musical history, the generation after Bach stripped away much of the older composers' harmonic complexity, writing instead with a dramatically simpler palette of harmonies. The likes of Gluck, Mozart and Haydn created a whole new style based on, essentially, four major chords. Much of their music is based on the tonic, dominant and subdominant – just like much of rock'n'roll.
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