The classical music genre has always had a sense of ambiguity when it comes down to the pieces that are "the most well-known" or "the most popular." Those familiar with the genre always end up using their own knowledge when naming pieces that they think is the most familiar. Luckily, there is a website that has compiled a list of the Top 100 classical pieces of music. Kickass Classical lists the 100 most well-known pieces of classical music to date. The formed this list based off of thier won research. These pieces were placed in order based off of use in commercials, movies, TV shows, ringtones, video games, and the amount of airplay each one has received through various music providers (radio, streaming services, live concerts, etc.). Topping the list is none other than Beethoven with the opening movement to his Symphony No. 5in C minor. Following him is Tchaikovsky with the 1812 Overture. Third is the "Allegro" movement to Mozart's Eine Kleine Nachtmusik. The list goes on and features multiple entries from those listed previously as well as Rossini and Bach. Most of the pieces are from composers who have long since passed but there are two entries from living composers. Welsh composer Karl Jenkins has an entry with the first movement of his Palladio Suite along with John Williams with the "Imperial March" from the Star Wars series. Kickass Classical's Top 100 is surprisingly diverse featuring the works of Dvořák, Vivaldi, Verdi, Handel, Gershwin, Puccini, Bizet, Saint-Saëns, Sousa, Chopin, and many more. Even with the numerous amounts of composers, the Top 100 does lack any pieces from such famous composers as Stravinsky or Berlioz. Luckily, Kickass Classical has also created two more lists: the Top 200 and Top 300. While the Top 100 lists purely the most well-known classical pieces period, the Top 200 lists the most well-known within the classical genre (minus the ones in the Top 100). It is here that classical buffs will find more of what they think would be the most popular. The Top 300 is currently still being constructed and will feature the 100 most culturally influential pieces of classical music. Each list contains a short sample of the piece and gives the title, composer, date, and a keyword associated with each for every piece. The Top 100 is extremely interesting to look over because these are supposedly the pieces of classical music that anyone, familiar with the genre or not, would be able to recognize. On their YouTube channel, they have a video playing short sections of each piece back to back from 100 to 1. To test their list, I have played it for numerous people and they have all been able to recognize each one (although they were hit and miss with the composers or actual names of the pieces). The people behind Kickass Classical surely deserve praise for the amount of work they have put into their research in order to generate such a list.
Classical's Top "200"