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date: 05 December 2019

Classic rock(ii)locked

  • Allan F. Moore


A term identifying the incorporation of classical music referents into some rock, from the late 1960s onwards. The earliest notable example was Procol Harum's A Whiter Shade of Pale (1967), whose scalic descending bass and close part-writing recalled late J.S. Bach. From there it spread to various British progressive bands such as Yes, whose re-orchestration of the third movement of Brahms's Symphony no.4 appeared on Fragile in 1971, the Concerto for Group and Orchestra of Deep Purple in 1970 and the work of arranger David Palmer with Jethro Tull, particularly in that group's regular concert performances of a Bach bourée. Even Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody (1975) was perceived to overflow with the sentiments of Italian grand opera. Emerson, Lake and Palmer made use of East European material, transcribing Musorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition, Bartók's Allegro barbaro, Janáček's Sinfonietta, works by Tchaikovsky and later those of Copland and Ginastera. Subsequently heavy metal guitarists from Ritchie Blackmore to Yngwie Malmsteen would rely on Baroque violin figuration, particularly from Tartini, Vivaldi and Corelli, to inform their virtuosic techniques....

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