Rock music of all varieties has been influenced by classical music and vice versa, both in the form of direct quotes and in the form of borrowings of style, composition, and instrumentation. Janell R. Duxbury is the author of both the discography ROCKIN' THE CLASSICS AND CLASSICIZIN' THE ROCK (Greenwood Press 1985) and its first supplement (Greenwood Press 1991). The second supplement is now available (Xlibris 2000) and features many new additions, especially in the genres of progressive rock and metal. Descriptions and publishing information for the discographies is included in links below. Also published are the journal articles "Shakespeare Meets the Backbeat: Literary Allusion in Rock Music" POPULAR MUSIC AND SOCIETY (v. 12, no. 3 / Fall 1988) and click to read "The Nexus of Classical and Rock" PROGRESSION (no.39 / Summer 2001). I've been a fan of progressive rock and progressive metal since 1969 (click to read "Blame it all on Brandenburg" which explains how I was hooked). Audio of 1999 Association for Recorded Sound Collections conference presentation by Janell Duxbury: click here .

Synthesizer LINKS Grand Piano

Click on title above for description and ordering information for my original 1985 discography. Check out these REVIEWER COMMENTS AND CITATIONS (for main discography AND supplements) and SAMPLE DISCOGRAPHY ENTRIES
Click on title above for description and ordering information for my 1991 first supplement to the discography.
Click on title above for description and ordering information for my 2000 second supplement to the discography. Now available in paperback, hardback and eBook.
Bibliography of books and journal articles which have information related to the topic of rock-classical connections. Bibliography compiled by Janell Duxbury.
List compiled by me (with the help of Deep Purple fans and Jon Lord) of classical music quotes used by Deep Purple, Rainbow, Ritchie Blackmore, Jon Lord, etc.     R. I. P.   JON LORD (1941-2012)
Use this link to ELP Digest web page, then click on News & Information, then on Emerson Musical Quote Source List. This list of classical and other music quotes used by Keith Emerson solo, in ELP, ELPowell, Nice, etc. (some of which were contributed by me).     R. I. P.   KEITH EMERSON (1944-2016)
List of European and other countries' rock music with classical cover versions and quotes compiled by Gerald Matuschek. Most escaped my research and my other sources! Click to see his Word document.
List of selected examples arranged by composer. German title of website page translates to "classical cover versions".
To be included on the main page the pop music must have been: a single, a hit in the UK, included in the Guinness Book of British Hit Singles - that means from November 1952 or later and based on a piece of classical music (i.e. influenced by, quoting from or using a melody). Note: Includes MP3 samples.
Per this web page "Tropes are storytelling devices and conventions that a writer can reasonably rely on as being present in the audience members' minds and expectations." A Sub Trope of Classical Sampling list is at this link.
Selected examples from 1910s-2000s.
Discography of rock music using classical quotes from Bernward Halbscheffel's dissertation "Rockmusik und klassisch-romantische Bildungstradition" (Freie Universitat Berlin, 2000). Entire dissertation in PDF format at: Dissertationen Online . Halbscheffel Verlag edition titled "Rock barock - Rockmusik und klassisch-romantische Bildungstradition" was published in 2001.
Dissertation by Jana Vaculíková about the neoclassical style of rock as represented by the work of Yngwie Malmsteen (Olomouc, Czech Republic: Univerzita Palackého v Olomouci, 2015) in PDF format from
Dissertation by Alexander Deweppe about the history of classical music quotes in rock music (Gent, Belgium: Universiteit Gent, 2006) in PDF format.
Dissertation by Joseph R. Matson about musical intertextuality in popular music (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota, 2016) in PDF format.
A community site for discovering and discussing sampled music, remixes and cover songs. You can search by artist (band/individual/classical composer) or song name. Sound samples of both the sample and the original source are provided. Not comprehensive by any means, but has some examples of classical borrowing by rock that I did not find.
Friend Bill Berends and his band Mastermind draw ideas from progressive rock, progressive metal, and classical music. Mastermind has become my favorite band for their entire work, not just their several classical cover versions.
Friend Kevin Ferguson's album STRAD TO STRAT (see CD 1) features Fender Stratocaster electric guitar versions of Bach, Paganini, Vivaldi and other classical violin music, all elegantly done. STRAD TO STRAT II (see CD 7) features Antonio Vivaldi's violin concertos performed on electric guitars.
Included in Who's Who, a Yamaha Artist, a D'Addario Artist, published by Oxford University Press, Von Cello's mission: to bring the cello into the center stage of rock! His new CD released in 2000 titled "Breaking The Sound Barriers" is a classical crossover CD about a cellist crossing over from classical to rock. It is full of musical quotes from the classics but the songs are in various rock styles. The words often deal with crossover themes. You can stream and download whole songs at
All sorts of progressive rock information.
MIDI files of famous compositions listed by composer (great for tracking down an elusive quote!)

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Click for list of all publications by Janell R. Duxbury here .

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Last update: January 5, 2021

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