The Well-Tempered Ear

Will car ads help save classical music?

November 14, 2010

By Jacob Stockinger

I guess I am as disappointed with a lot or marketing and advertising as much as the next fan of serious culture that goes beyond consumerism.

But ironically it seems that the very commercial culture I often turn away from is helping to preserve and promote the same classical music that I so value and that so many observers say is under siege and in danger of gradually disappearing.

Maybe it should have come as a surprise with a Korean car company using “Sonata” for a model name.

But it did come as a surprise – and a pleasant one.

I of course expect to hear tunes by the Beatles and Rolling Stones used to sell things and services. But Mozart? And Wagner? And Grieg?

As background, try reading this story and listening to the sound clips:

I also recall the gorgeous slow movement from Mozart’s Piano Sonata in B-Flat Major K. 570, for a car ad. (Yes, of course it’s the Hyundai Sonata, in an ad that also mentions Schubert’s Sonata in A minor, but doesn’t play a snippet – could it be on the way?)

And another Mozart piano sonata, namely the famous “Rondo alla Turca” finale from the Sonata in A Major K. 331, is also in an ad for the Hyundai Sonata. Here it is on YouTube:

Hyundai isn’t alone.

Audi uses Ravel’s sparkling “Jeux d’eux” (Fountains):

And other kinds of companies are also using classical music. uses the lovely second movement from Ravel’s String Quartet in this ad:

What is it about the music of Mozart and Ravel that appeals to advertising creators? Perhaps the clarity and precision? Perhaps the lightness? Perhaps the ability to splice it up and edit it?

Anyway, do you know of more ads with classical music? I could swear I hear some Chopin used, but I can find it or remember it. And I would expect some ads or commercials to use Bach, Beethoven and Schubert snippets?

I’d love to hear some more specific examples with links to YouTube performances if you know of them?

The Ear wants to hear – the more, the better.

Posted in Classical music

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