10 K-Pop Songs That Take Inspiration From Classical Music
Did someone say “K-pop and classical music crossover”? It sounds interesting to put these two genres together, but this combination is definitely not unheard of! In fact, you might not have known that some of your favorite K-pop songs—both old and new—have taken inspiration from even older pieces of music.
Here are 10 examples of K-pop songs that borrow from classical music of the 17th to 19th centuries!
1. ToppDogg X Mozart
One K-pop-classical-crossover song that comes to mind is “TOPDOG” by ToppDogg (now known as XENO-T). Released in 2014, the music video and song are heavily based on classical composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s musical works as well as his infamous rivalry against fellow composer Antonio Salieri. You can see the modern interpretation of this artistic tension in the CGI-filled music video and hear references to Mozart’s famous “Rondo Alla Turca” as well as the first and fourth movements of his Symphony No. 25 in G minor in ToppDogg’s song.
2. Hello Venus X Pachelbel
Does the Hello Venus’s 2013 song “Would You Stay for Tea?” sound familiar? It’s because the song uses melodies and chord progressions from Johann Pachelbel’s “Canon in D”! Although Pachelbel is the oldest composer on the list, his famous tune from “Canon in D” certainly does not sound dated in Hello Venus’s sparkly reimagining of this popular composition.
3. VIXX X Beethoven
Ludwig van Beethoven’s “Moonlight Sonata” sets a perfectly moody atmosphere for VIXX’s “Fantasy.” This successful pairing of music from 1801 and 2016 only goes to show how beautiful melodies and emotions withstand the test of time. I’d consider this a job well done by all composers!
4. FTISLAND X Vivaldi
FTISLAND released their emotionally charged “Missing You” in 2009. Once engrossed in the dramatic music video, it can be easy to miss that this song actually borrows from the first movement of Antonio Vivaldi’s “Winter,” the last concerto of his famous The Four Seasons. The high-energy violins and charming harpsichord add the final touch to one of FTISLAND’s earlier tracks.
5. Lee Hyun Woo X Vivaldi
Speaking of Vivaldi, “The Day After You Left” is an old-but-gold song from 1997 by singer-turned-actor Lee Hyun Woo. Like FTISLAND’s “Missing You,” “The Day After You Left” also features violin melodies from Vivaldi’s “Winter,” but this time, they originate from the second movement. You can hear how Lee Hyun Woo’s song captures more of Vivaldi’s gentle and sweet sounds.
6. Park Ji Yoon X Bizet
Another classic oldie—Park Ji Yoon of the widely covered “Coming of Age Ceremony” has a song inspired by Georges Bizet’s opera “Carmen.” “Song of the Moonlight” integrates the rhythmical writing from one of the opera’s more recognizable arias, “Habanera,” into a danceable, flamenco-inspired track.
7. DreamCatcher X Handel
The fast and catchy riffs from DreamCatcher’s “Good Night” actually had their roots in a much older piece of music. Baroque composer George Frideric Handel had created a smart chord progression in his Suite No. 7 in G minor that DreamCatcher then incorporated into their signature rock sound—and it worked!
8. GFRIEND X Schumann
The piano in GFRIEND’s “Summer Rain” imitates the melodies of German composer Robert Schumann’s “Dichterliebe” or “A Poet’s Love” in the girl group’s snappier, modern take of this 1800s composition. You can still sense the feelings of longing and melancholy in both pieces, as nothing is lost in translation.
9. Oh My Girl X Elgar
Oh My Girl’s performance of “Love Song” on “Sugar Man 2” pays tribute to the disbanded girl group 7Princess’s nationwide hit. The popular tune in the chorus is actually composer Edward Elgar’s heartfelt melody from his violin piece “Salut d’Amour” or “Love’s Greeting” turned into a cute and catchy pop song!
10. Cherry Bullet X Beethoven
Of course we didn’t forget Cherry Bullet’s “Hands Up,” and we sure couldn’t forget this addictive tune after hearing it for the first time, Cherry Bullet style! As many listeners have noticed, “Hands Up” takes great inspiration from Beethoven’s “Fur Elise,” turning that stormy piano piece into a trendy hip hop track that stays in our heads for days.
Which is your favorite K-pop take on classical music? Let us know in the comments below!