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WikEd fancyquotes.pngQuotesBug-silk.pngHeadscratchersIcons-mini-icon extension.gifPlaying WithUseful NotesMagnifier.pngAnalysisPhoto link.pngImage LinksHaiku-wide-icon.pngHaikuLaconic

Where an artist takes a Standard Snippet or other piece of classical music and incorporates it into their song. Could be small snippet of the piece or much longer. Might result in Crowning Music of Awesome when done properly.

Speculatively, the motivations for classical sampling are:

  • Importing a sense of gravitas and substance.
  • A way of highlighting the qualities of classical and pop music by contrasting them.
  • Simply as a useful gimmick to make a song stand out.

A Sub-Trope of Sampling that normally gets around pesky legal issues by virtue of most, classical music falling into the public domain. Named after the song by Falco, which, contrary to the title, does not use this trope.

Not to be confused with Rock Me, Asmodeus.

Examples of Rock Me, Amadeus include:

  • Accept has several of these:
    • Sodom & Gomorrah has an excerpt of Sabre Dance by Aram Khachaturian.
    • Metal Heart has an excerpt of Tchaikovsky's Slavonic March in the intro and one of Beethoven's Für Elise in the guitar solo.
    • The standalone guitar solo from the live album Staying a Life has an excerpt of In the Hall of the Mountain King by Edvard Grieg.
    • The live version of Balls to the Wall from the same album has an introductory section based on the "fate" Leitmotif from Carmen by Georges Bizet.
    • They also did an arrangement of the Trio section of Pomp and Circumstance March No. 1 by Edward Elgar (a.k.a. Land of Hope and Glory), titled simply Pomp and Circumstance.
  • In the Hall of the Mountain King by Edvard Grieg is popular choice:
    • Used in Helloween's Gorgar.
    • Also in Savatage's Prelude to Madness.
    • And the track that immediately follows, In The Hall of the Mountain King.
    • Also in a live guitar solo by Accept, as mentioned above.
    • Worked into "Hall of the Mountain King" by Rainbow.
    • M - Razzia 2(This Club is Closed Forever)
    • Captain Jack - Dream a Dream
  • Beethoven's Ninth in Rainbow's Difficult to Cure.
  • Strangely enough, Rock Me Amadeus by Falco contains merely a snippet from Beethoven's 5th at the very end.
    • Falco's Vienna Calling begins with a few bars of The Blue Danube by Strauss.
  • Bach's Minuet in G in the Toys' A Lover's Concerto.
  • Beethoven's Pathétique
    • A movement from is used in BillyJoel's This Night.
    • And the theme from Roughnecks: Starship Trooper Chronicles.
  • Johann Sebastian Bach's Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring:
    • Apollo 100's song Joy is a rock version.
    • She Don't Care About Time by The Byrds has a guitar solo based on it.
  • A sample of the Flower Duet from Léo Delibes opera Lakmé occurs in in David Usher's Black Black Heart.
  • A full adaption of Also Sprach Zarathustra by Richard Strauss in Deodato's funky song of the same name.
  • Play with Me by Extreme features riffs from various classical pieces including Mozart's Alla turca and Vivaldi's The Four Seasons.
  • Jazz pianists, especially from around the bebop era, tend to have a couple of classical measures in their improvs. As an earlier example, Fats Waller was apparently a fan of In The Hall Of The Mountain King, as he occasionally mixed pieces of the melody into his tunes, most notably in Viper's Drag.
  • The guitar solo in Spinal Tap's Heavy Duty is the Boccherini minuet. According to the DVD commentary, that was actually the finale to a very intricate and inventive ten-minute solo, but Marty cut it down for time, and made Nigel look like a hack. To make matters worse, the short version made it onto the soundtrack, and is the only one most people have ever heard.
  • The Enigma album The Screen Behind The Mirror samples O Fortuna to such an extent that you could say it's O Fortuna with samples of ambient 1990's electonica.
  • Special mention goes to Andrew Lloyd Webber, who has a doggedly negative reputation for copying Puccini. The similarities are real but not as slavish as commonly reported e.g. commonalities in the central theme from Puccini's La fanciulla del West and ALW's Music of the Night. It is interesting that a little bit of copying followed by denial caused an uproar whereas other artists copy big chunks of classical music wholesale with apparent acceptability. It doesn't help that ALW's work tends to repeat.
  • Dvorak's Symphony No. 9 forms the basis of Blind Guardian's By the Gates of Moria.
  • Indie darkwave/new wave band Thou Shalt Not borrows From The New World symphony as well, for their most recent single — unsurprisingly titled, New World.
  • The Killers had Mr Brightside turn into Ode To Joy.
  • Bach's Toccata and Fugue in D minor
    • Plug-in Baby by Muse starts with the opening.
    • The basis for the Gyruss theme song.
    • "Bach onto This" could even count as a Homage.
    • A Touhou music arrange for Kanako Yasaka's theme, Suwa Foughten Field, begins with the opening.
  • Chuck Berry's Roll Over Beethoven begins with the famous "Da-Da-Da-DUN!" opening from Beethoven's Symphony No. 5 and has been covered by everybody from ELO to The Beatles.
  • Adagio in G Minor by Remo Giazotto.
    • Albinoni vs. Star Wars by Sigue Sigue Sputnik opens with a quotation.
    • Cold is Being by the band Renaissance is essentially Adagio in G Minor set to lyrics.
    • "Albinoni" by Rollerball (Above & Beyond). DJ Tiesto also did a remix titled "Athena", on Parade of the Athletes.
  • Renaissance is pretty much built on this trope, actually.
  • Sting's Russians uses the melody from Sergei Prokofiev's Romance, part of his Lieutenant Kije Suite.
  • Overused by ~Emerson, Lake & Palmer~, who did at least one classical-to-rock full conversion on every album. As did Keith Emerson's previous band The Nice (later reformed for nostalgic reunion concerts)
  • William Orbits album Pieces In A Modern Style is Exactly What It Says on the Tin. However, the most widely recognized track from the album, Barbers Adagio For Strings was a remix by Ferry Corsten, misleading people into thinking the whole album was dance music.
    • Tiesto and Armin van Buuren have also done remixes. Some DJ's have also sampled or remixed from other remixes.
  • Bomani D'Mite Armah's Read a Book turns Beethoven's 5th Symphony into a Lil' Jon-style rap song. Better Than It Sounds due to it being a parody advising its target audience to take up good habits such as reading books and drinking water instead of beer.
  • Johann Pachelbel's Canon in D has inspired a great many songs with its chord progression.
    • The opening of Vitamin C's "Graduation (Friends Forever)" directly quotes the piece, although a step lower in pitch.
  • Pet Shop Boys, All Over The World opens with a synthesised Standard Snippet of a Tchaikovsky piece.
  • Nas' I Can uses the beginning of Beethoven's Für Elise.
  • Classical composers liked quoting too:
    • Tchaikovsky famously copied the Marseillaise for the 1812 Overture and a number of Italian songs for the Capriccio Italien.
    • Beethoven took 'Rule, Britannia' for his Wellington's Victory (Op. 91) along with a French tune identical to 'For He's a Jolly Good Fellow.'
    • Brahms' "Academic Festival Overture" is made up of quotations from traditional collegiate songs such as "Gaudeamus Igitur."
    • Aaron Copland made an art form out of reworking and rephrasing American folk tunes.
  • Evanescence's Lacrymosa samples the opening of the Lacrimosa from Mozart's Requiem throughout the whole song.
  • Hollenthon does this all the time. Lords of Bedlam samples the Romeo and Juliet tune to great effect.
  • Apotheosis has done O Fortuna but it only really becomes Crowning Music of Awesome in the Excalibur remix.
  • Chumbawumba's Tubthumping includes the Prince of Denmark's March at the end.
  • Sweetbox's Everything's Gonna Be Alright is based around Air on the G String, from Bach's Orchestral Suite No.3.
  • Walter Murphy and the Big Apple Band's A Fifth of Beethoven quotes Beethoven's Symphony No. 5 in C minor. It was most famously used in the film Saturday Night Fever. Also in the film was David Shire's funky reworking of Mussorgsky's Night on Bald Mountain, which was called Night on Disco Mountain.
  • Trans Siberian Orchestra's Requiem samples the famous intro to Beethoven's 5th. Requiem is part a rock opera titled Beethoven's Last Night. It also includes snippets of Mozart and Flight of the Bumblebee.
    • Indeed, pretty much the entirety of the TSO's output that isn't Christmas stuff is this. Beethoven's Last Night contains at least the Moonlight Sonata, the Pathetique, Fur Elise and the 5th (and a lot more Beethoven, of course), Mozart's overture to Figaro, and Rachmaninov's Flight of the Bumblebee. Nightcastle contains an actual Hall of the Mountain King (see crossover with Savatage below), Verdi's Requiem, Orff's Carmina Burana, and a cover of the Nutrocker (which of course is itself B Bumble and the Stingers' cover of Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker).
    • Some of their Christmas music is this as well. Excluding original tracks and arrangements based on traditional Christmas carols, "Christmas Canon" is based on Pachabel's Canon in D, "Mad Russian's Christmas" is based on the Nutcracker Suite, and "Wish Liszt(Toy Shop Madness)" is based on Liszt's Hungarian Dances
    • Savatage has also dipped into this trope. Their song "Hall of the Mountain King" didn't actually sample any of Edvard Grieg's "Hall of the Mountain King", but their "Prelude to Madness", an extended intro to "Hall...", did.
  • Malice Mizer made incredibly liberal use of this, to the point where you didn't even to know about classical to spot it. The main source seemed to be guitarist and bandleader Mana, because his new project, Moi Dix Mois, does the same thing.
  • Finnish Thrash Metal band Stone open their album No Anaesthesia! with a metal rendition of Jean Sibelius' Finlandia.
  • The Brian Setzer Orchestra album Wolfgang's Big Night Out contains swing versions of several recognizable classical works. Notably, Plead the Fifth has the oveture to Beethoven's 5th Symphony, For Lisa quotes Fur Elise, the title track quotes Mozart's Eine Kliene Nachtmusik, One More Night With You references Greig's Hall of the Mountain King and Some River In Europe samples Strauss' Blue Danube. In their first Christmas album, they also did their version of The Nutcracker Suite, which was based on an arrangement originally performed in the '40s by Les Brown and his Band of Renown.
  • Nile's Ramses, Bringer of War is based on Mars, Bringer of War from Holst's The Planets.
  • End of the Century from Dance Dance Revolution 3rd Mix samples Beethoven's Ninth Symphony.
  • Speed Over Beethoven from DDR Extreme samples Fur Elise.
    • "Can't You Feel My Love" by the same artist (although not featured in DDR) samples the third movement of the Moonlight Sonata.
  • Beethoven Virus from Pump It Up samples Beethoven's Sonata Pathétique (Piano Sonata No. 8 in C minor, Op. 13). "Canon D", is of course, Pachelbel's Canon.
  • V and V2 from Beatmania IIDX samples Concerto No. 4 in F minor, Op. 8, RV 297, L'inverno (Winter) from Vivaldi's The Four Seasons.
    • As did "Winter" from Pump It Up.
  • Kakumei from Beatmania IIDX 7th Style and DDRMAX2 is a dance remix of Chopin's Etude #12, also known as the Revolutionary Etude. (Hence the name, which is Japanese for "revolution".)
  • About a third of the soundtrack of Dance Dance Revolution: Mario Mix consists of remixes of classical music.
  • Fuck You by Satan has a part of Mozart's Eine Kleine Nachtmusik in it.
  • The Ranma ½ opening theme song Zettai! Part 2 uses the intro to Mozart's Eine Kleine Nachtmusik to open and end the song.
  • The 2112 Overture by Rush includes a snippet of the 1812 Overture. Get it?
  • The outro of Necrophagist's Only Ash Remains is part of Sergei Prokofiev's Romeo and Juliet suite.
  • Live versions of Heartbreaker by Led Zeppelin often include a snippet of Bach's Bourrée in E minor.
  • The Vintersorg song For Kung Och Fosterland, from the album Till Fjalls, features the signature melody from Grieg's Hall of the Mountain King from Peer Gynt. He is thanked in the credits.
  • Thicke's When I get you alone has Beethoven's Fifth as the main riff.
  • Earth, the Circle Part 1 by Manfred Mann's Earth Band includes some melodic phrases from both the left-hand and right-hand parts of "Jimbo's Lullaby" (from Children's Corner) by Claude Debussy, the right-hand part becoming a vocal melody with lyrics.
  • Megadeth's Symphony Of Destruction has a piece of Mozart's Requiem (K. 626) - Domine Jesu Christe at the start. Also Last Rites, based on Johann Sebastian Bach's Toccata and Fugue in D minor (BWV 565).
  • Repent Walpurgis by Procol Harum contains an excerpt of JohannSebastianBach's Prelude No. 1 in C major (BWV 846).
  • Rhapsody Of Fire's 10 minute epic The Wizard's Last Rhymes borrows heavily from the 4th movement of Dvorak's New World Symphony.
  • German punk band Die Toten Hosen have an album called Ein Kleines Bisschen Horrorshow — "A Little bit of Horrorshow" — which has quite a few bits and pieces of Beethoven's Ninth in it. The songs reference A Clockwork Orange a lot, so this makes sense when you think about it. The first song is even called Here Comes Alex.
  • Ke$ha's Take It Off borrows from The Streets of Cairo

 "There's a place in France downtown where the naked ladies dance freaks all come around

There's It's a hole in the wall where the men can see it it's a dirty free for all"

  • Hips Don't Lie by Shakira uses a trumpet part from Deja Vu (Uptown Baby) by Lord Tariq and Peter Gunz.
  • God Diva from the Japanese Duo Ali Project samples The Magic Flute Queen of the Night Aria by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.
  • A sample from Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker Suite is used as the "Game Start" tune for the Japan-only NES game Devil World. A longer sample would be used in the Devil World level on Art Style: PICTOBITS in a short, but awesome remix.
    • As almost every fan knows, Dance of the Sugarplum Fairy appears in the licensed NES version of Tetris.
  • Frank Zappa's guitar solo on the live version of "Status Back Baby" is Stravinsky's "Petrushka".
    • Zappa also inverted it by working in "Louie Louie" in orchestral piece "Welcome To The United States."
  • The Beatles start "All You Need Is Love" with the first few bars of the Marseilles. In the cacophony towards the end, you can also hear a saxophone playing the first line from Glenn Miller's "In the Mood".
  • The chorus of ABBA's "Lay All Your Love On Me" is based on Modest Mussorgsky's "A Night on Bald Mountain."
  • Pink Martini often quotes classical music and popular melodies. Their song "The Gardens of Sampson and Beasley" manages to quote Delibes' "Flower Duet" and "Oh My Darling Clementine" in quick succession.
  • When I Get You Alone by Robin Thicke features a heavy sample of Beethovens Symphony number 5.
  • The Beatles' "Because" is based off Beethoven's "Moonlight Sonata"; John asked Yoko to play the chords of "Sonata" backwards while writing it, but it still sounds like the original.
  • Emilie Autumn, being a classically trained violinist and harpsichordist, provides a couple of examples:
  • PDQ Bach usually produces pieces which are nothing but quotations from classical music ... and popular music, and jazz music, and nursery tunes, and ... and ... and
  • "Tell" from In the Groove 2 is a techno remix of Rossini's William Tell Overture. "Vorsprung Durch Techno" and "Summer in Belize" are based on the Spring and Summer movements, respectively, of Vivaldi's Four Seasons.
  • Sound Horizon's "Yoiyami no Uta" includes snippets of classical pieces in rapid succession: Beethoven's "Ode to Joy", Chopin's "Fantaisie-Impromptu", and Mussorgsky's "Pictures at an Exhibition".
  • Deborah Sasson's "Carmen (Danger in Her Eyes)" uses a snippet of "Habanera" from George Bizet's Carmen.
  • "Dido"(no relation to the singer) by Aria is based on "Dido's Lament" from the opera Dido & Aeneas.
  • Brazilian band Ultraje a Rigor has "Eu Gosto de Mulher", whose solo incorporates "Sabre Dance" (a Standard Snippet on Looney Tunes and Tom and Jerry, among others)