The New Classical: YouTube Showcases New Music in Old Styles

March 02, 2012

This post was authored by Bailey Johnson of's The Feed, for a YouTube Trends series exploring viral video phenomena.

YouTube has led the charge into this brave new world of online content. Video creators have invented new genres of entertainment, and in some cases completely changed what being an “entertainer” means. But what often gets overlooked is how YouTube can make the old new again. Take, for example, one of the oldest forms of culture: classical music. Musicians have been able to hone their craft into new and exciting forms using some of the oldest styles and instruments out there. What does this “new classical” music sound like? Take a look.

Violinist Lindsey Stirling used her classical violin training to create something on the cutting edge with this music video, “Crystalize.” The video calls it “dubstep violin” and it’s not far off. It can’t be easy taking a nearly 500-year-old instrument and using it to create a new style. But Stirling makes it look easy; almost as easy as finding an audience hungry for something unique. “Crystalize” has been viewed nearly five million times in the few weeks it’s been online. Of course, the awesome sweeping visuals didn’t hurt.

The Piano Guys are another group making the old new again. These classically trained musicians use a piano, some cellos, and expert editing to transform their centuries-old instruments into modern hits. David Guetta is about as cutting-edge as music gets these days, but The Piano Guys show us that there’s really nothing new under the sun. Even Beethoven could’ve made these beats. You know, if he had the ear for it.

Speaking of cellos, let’s take a look at the aptly named 2CELLOS. Using, yes, two cellos, Stjepan Hauser and Luka Sulic have become something like superstars in their field. They’ve made several television appearences, go on tour, and have a booming YouTube channel. “Smooth Criminal” above has been viewed over 5.5 million times.

The real catalyst for this article – besides all the awesome music – was this video we posted on The Feed last week. As my pal Will Goodman wrote, “You know you’re doing something right when a band posts your video up on their Facebook page with the simple word ‘whoah’ to describe it.” Transforming the Foo Fighters’ classic “Everlong” into a sweeping piano piece is an inspired work of art that perfectly captures the everything-old-is-new-again aesthetic of budding classical musicians worldwide.

Today's Trend analysis provided by