Cool Things: The Piano Guys

I don’t talk about music much here, mainly because I rarely go out and find new stuff to listen to. I’m a classically trained musician, but I have eclectic tastes. While there are songs on the radio that I like, it’s usually on a case by case basis. There aren’t any groups I’m really fond of, at least not playing on the radio.

While The Piano Guys don’t get much radio time, they do have a very popular YouTube channel and make some of the most interesting classical music you’ve heard in a long time (assuming you’ve heard any at all.) Some might hesitate to call it “classical” but I’m not one of them. Certainly the instruments and the core of the music they draw from is classical, but like all the best artists they give the material a twist all their own.

The Piano Guys specialize in mashups, which means that they take two different (usually wildly different) pieces of music and blend them into a seamless whole. While this is a trademark of rap and techno music, where taking “samples” has long been a way of life, it’s not something that happens much with classical music, unless classical pieces are being sampled for one of the two music styles I mentioned before.

However, by taking famous classical pieces and infusing them with the rhythms of modern music, and blending the melodies, The Piano Guys prove that, even with all the cultural buzz that we’ve attached to our musical superstars these days, at it’s core music is still music, and capable of speaking to people regardless of their age or the instrument it’s played on. Michael Jackson and Mozart may not sound like a natural combination, but when Michael Meets Mozart plays you start to wonder if they were actually meant to be.

The Piano Guys isn’t just for people who love classical music. The pop music they blend in still retains all the great sound and soul that made them great songs on the radio (you can even get versions that are done with spoken lyrics.) The videos that get made to go along with the music are also well worth the checking out. Cello Wars and Rockabelle’s Cannon are two I particularly like, although I may be biased as a cellist myself.

All in all, with plenty of music available for free on YouTube and a couple of very cheap albums available through most online music retailers, The Piano Guys are at least worth checking out if you’re looking for a new take on classical music, pop music, or just mashups in general. But don’t blame me if you loose an afternoon browsing their channel. I’ll warn you now – they are addictive. If you’re not careful you may find yourself with a new favorite on you playlist.

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