Saturday, 8 August 2009

Classical music can be fun two

I hate cheap bastardized cover versions of classical pieces. Playing a classical piece with electronic instruments to a faster beat does not make it modern – it makes the music sound like cheap crap. And please… don’t make it worse by mixing it with some Gregorian chat rubbish.

But I was bowled over when I came across this video sometime ago on YouTube. The video featured a kid with baseball cap covering his face, playing Johann Pachelbel's Canon (playing… not playing with… scrub your mind). Even if you’re not familiar with classical music, I’m sure you’ve heard this piece (popularly known as Canon in D major) being performed at some wedding ceremony. Canon (the music piece, not the camera company) is a classic piece that one would normally associate with slow and stately pace. What happens when someone else turns it on its head and churns out a version on the electric guitar?

Normally that would be dog crap, but not in this case. Much to the chagrin of pure classical music lovers, the rendition of this re-arranged Canon in D Major was an instant hit on YouTube, becoming one of the top ten most viewed videos with over 60 million views and counting. Taiwanese guitarist JerryC rearranged the music, and a South Korean teenager Lim Jeong-hyun (known by his online alias funtwo) played the amazing piece on guitar. The new arrangement was now known as Canon Rock.


The success of this hit hinged on several factors. First is the arrangement of a classical music piece that many people played but nobody imagined that it could be rearranged to such an extent. Secondly, the growth of the internet made it possible for unintentional collaboration between two teenagers from different countries who did not know each other to build upon each others’ talent. And finally, the ability of the internet to showcase the immense talent of the teenagers. Both JerryC and funtwo became overnight internet sensation and received coverage on traditional media after the video was posted on YouTube.

For me, I’m just amazed at the clever rearrangement of music and the skills of funtwo in playing the piece. I’ve no musical talent whatsoever, but I believed it took many hours of practice to get to that stage of guitar skills even for a talented individual. Unfortunately, Lim expressed no wish to carry on playing as a professional guitarist, and would rather carry on playing guitar simply as a hobby. Perhaps he understood that once he turned professional, guitar playing would cease to be fun?

Whatever his path lies, the moral behind this story is simple - the fusion of talent and potential of youth is intoxicating. Lim Jeong-hyun may not see it, but many people would die for his talent and fame. If you have a talent, be sure to guard it well and build upon it, and not take the high and haughty stance by walking away from a gift you were born with. Do not worry about handling success; you can deal with it later when it comes. But let success walk through your door first, by welcoming it with your talent and hardwork.

Get inspired. Recognize your talent and take charge of your own life.

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