Classical music has a universal appeal that adapts to a variety of emotional situations and cinematic images. It can elevate a show to a higher artistic level when used correctly, and vintage pieces by previous composers often don’t come with copyrights. It’s an incentive to use them for any soundtrack, and a lot of anime also uses the versatile and refined sound of classical music.
There are plenty of anime that exclusively use classical music, especially period dramas, while others mix a few classic pieces with a more contemporary soundtrack. Some of the following anime are about composers, dancers, or musicians, while others use it to evoke a certain mood in the viewer, but all incorporate classical music.
6 Your lie in April
A fan-favorite of romance-genre anime fans, of course, this heartwarming drama is said to feature a classical music soundtrack. Your lie in April is the story of Kо̄sei Arima, a young pianist, who loses the ability to hear the piano after the death of his mother. He meets Kaori Miyazono, a talented but unrefined violinist, and his return to music begins as their relationship grows.
The soundtrack is a mix of original compositions and vintage classical music and includes pieces by Chopin, Beethoven and a variety of others. The instruments presented are the violin and the piano, so it is an ideal choice for those who love the strings.
5 Neon Genesis: Evangelion
The scene that always comes to mind when someone associates the words “anime” and “classical music” is when Unit 002 battles rival series Eva to the mellow tones of Orchestral Suite No. 3 in D Major. of Bach. This sequence is iconic, not only because it signifies a major plot step forward, but also because the juxtaposition of classical music and giant robot-crushing action work so well together.
Other classic pieces featured in everyone’s favorite doomsday anti-mecha include Beethoven’s 9th Symphony and Handel’s Messiah, also used at significant points in the anime. The soundtrack is an eclectic mix of a variety of genres that also includes covers of popular classics and the famous opening song, “Cruel Angel’s Thesis”.
4 princess tutu
princess tutu is the perfect catwalk anime for that friend who also loves ballet, romance, and Tchaikovsky. The genre is a magical girl, but it’s really a modern day fairy tale, about a lowly duckling who becomes a human in order to save the one she loves. It’s an old story that goes well with a soundtrack that includes classical music.
Swan Lake is the most performed composition in the series, but other works by the popular composer include Nutcracker and The Sleeping Beauty. Like other anime that features vintage classical music, there are also some original tracks on the score. The show was released in 2002, and thanks to the DVD release of all 28 episodes in 2018, its popularity is trending.
3 Legend of Galactic Heroes
A classic anime that dates back to the 1980s, Legend of Galactic Heroes was meant to be staged on a grand scale with an equally epic story, and adding some classic tunes to the soundtrack gave it that aesthetic. It’s on the same scale as stories like Dunes and includes similar features, such as a reigning emperor, ruling houses, and political intrigue.
Classical music fans will appreciate the various names that make up this distinguished list, and anyone new to the genre who wants a crash course can use this anime to do just that. The most recognizable classical pieces on the soundtrack come from Mozart’s Symphony No. 40 in G minor. Excerpts from Gustav Mahler’s Symphony No. 3 in D Minor and his Symphony No. 6 in A Minor also help to immerse the audience in a vast and expansive setting.
2 No Mori Piano
Translated into English, this title is Forest of Piano, and it is exactly that. Kai Ichinose lives nearby and does not have a happy family life. Every once in a while, he escapes to that local green space to play the piano that just happens to be sitting there. The mystery here is not why is there a piano in a forest, but that the piano is supposed to be broken and only Kai can play it.
The soundtrack features all the heavyweights of the classical music world, especially the piano. In addition to the many original pieces from the soundtrack written for the piano, there are also those by Beethoven For Elise and an excerpt from his Symphony No. 5 and Waltz No. 6 by Chopin.
1 Puella Magi Madoka Magica
The name is often abbreviated to Madoka Magica, and it continued the proud tradition that other magical girl anime had started years ago, breathing new life into the genre. The Yuki Kajiura-composed soundtrack ties into this, reminding viewers that classical music is not a dead medium confined to previous centuries.
Classical music composed in the 21st century can be modern, post-modern, or contemporary, and the music composed for this series is a prime example. The music is often performed by an orchestra and on unplugged traditional musical instruments. The tracks that include lyrics sound more like music one would expect from anime, but there are plenty of purely instrumental tracks in the more conventional classical music tradition.
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