Classical songs that mean the opposite of what you think

What if someone said that that song everyone hears when brides walk down the aisle does not represent a joyous moment, but rather a mass murder and escape of the groom? No, this is not another sexist joke about marriage, but the real meaning of the classic song.

For you who are not a fan of Bach, Wagner or Tchaikovsky, we have gathered some of the well-known classic songs that mean the opposite of what you think After that, you will never see these songs with the same eyes.

1 - "Here Comes the Bride" (or "Bridal Chorus") - Richard Wagner

You have seen the music in: 99.5% of weddings use this song. Just like the bride's white dress, it is almost mandatory in these ceremonies. It is played in all kinds of ways, with organs, orchestras, rock bands, always at the moment when the bride walks down the aisle.

Original context: Far from being a joyful opera, it signifies mass murder. First, the error already comes in the moment the song appears. The song comes from the opera "Lohengrin", in which it is sung to the heroine Elsa and her husband, Lohegrin, by their bridesmaids after the wedding, not before.

The sinister part comes now. Right after the song, Lohegrin murders five wedding guests and dumps Elsa. Afterwards, Elsa dies of grief. Now that you know the context, would you use the song at your wedding?

2 - "Hallelujah Chorus" (from Messiah) - Handel

You have seen the music in: Just like the 'Wedding March', the "Hallelujah Chorus", which sounds like a choir of happy people singing "Hallelujah", is well used in religious movies or when something good happens. It is also good for the wedding of that stranded aunt of yours.

Original context: As you might imagine, this choral work is about Jesus Christ. More specifically, it is the soundtrack to his supposed second visit to earth, i.e. at the end of the world. He commands total extermination on top of a great black cloud, and everything below collapses.

The "Hallelujah Chorus" got its lyrics from the Book of Revelations, commonly known as the "craziest" part of the Bible. While everyone is shouting, the Messiah ends the world around us. It is said that when Handel finished "Hallelujah Chorus," he was found crying. His assistant asked what had happened, and Handel replied, "I thought I saw the face of God." Scary.

3 - "O Fortuna" (from the work Carmina Burana) - Carl Orff

You have seen the music in: suspense commercials, drama movies, or series about the end of the world. It is a good choice for all these occasions.

Original context: Although the song was written in the 20th century, the lyrics are a collection of more than 200 medieval poems about: unrequited love, drinking, gambling, having bad luck (and losing your shirt in the betting).

The arrangement was by a bizarre German composer, who wanted to celebrate "the triumph of the human spirit through sexual and holistic balance." I think he smoked a lot too!

Military Marches" - Sir Edward Elgar

You have seen the music in: It is also common in victorious moments in movies.

Original context: the song reminiscent of conquest is the first in a series from a turn-of-the-20th-century concept album about blood, war, and young men's deaths. Since it has no lyrics, composer Elgar has tried to summarize its meaning in a preface with a quote from Lord Tabley's poem "The March of Glory," which talks about marching to the sound of music that lures men to death, pride, nation,But not with a positive meaning, like "dying in battle is glorious".

The song is Elgar's way of saying, "I don't think we should march all our young men off to die in battle," which the British completely confused by playing it to cheer their armies for years. At least they got the battle part right, since the Americans play the song at graduations.

5 - "Ride of the Valkyries" (from "Die Walkure") - Richard Wagner

You have seen the music in: This has to be the most famous dramatic song in the world. The first time it was used in movies was in 'Apocalypse Now', as a background to a helicopter attack. Many cartoons have reproduced the song, depicting people going into battle.

Original context: played in an opera about women with spears, amazingly enough, the song is not heard when the girls battle, but when the curtain is closed and nothing happens.

But why at this point? The composer wanted to get the audience excited for the show. When the curtain goes up and the women finally appear, the rest of the song is used as background sound as the Valkyries greet each other before a day's work. No fights, no fury. Very frustrating.

Scroll to top