Emojis and Classical Music

Despite all the strange and confused looks I get , I always pride myself as a modern classical music lover, and no, not just for studying. I have tried to “invite”/drag many of my friends to concerts with me. Their reactions varied widely: some tolerated the music with the occasional head nods and others retrieved into hibernation. It saddens me  that classical music might truly be outdated but on the other hand, I am fascinated by how differently we react to music. I wanted to know more what and how people are talking about classical music, and like any tech-savvy youth and 20/30 year-olds would say when in doubt, ask Twitter!

This blog is modeled after the wonderful tutorial by Prismoji with some modifications and additional analysis. To start,  the hashtags used were #ClassicalMusic, #Composer, #MusicHistory, #Opera, and #Classicfm. I downloaded a total of 3687 tweets from 8/25 to 9/2/17.  If geolocation information was available, many tweets can be traced to larger concert halls; for example, the Royal Albert Hall in London for BBC proms.



It’s no surprise that 5 out of 10 of the most popular emojis used were music related, such as musical notations or instruments. When most people think of classical music, their first thought tends to be  or . The other five were expressions, such as  and ❤️ . My general observation is that musical notations or instruments were more likely to be used to promote a classical events or news, while expressions were used for personal experience at concerts or musical events.


Here are some of the examples:

1. Using music related hashtags to promote guitar transcriptions.

2. Tagging a piano competition in Helsinki

3. Retweeting opera news

4. Concert experience



The keywords in tweets were mostly music genre related (e.g., soundtrack/film, jazz, new music) and musicians/instruments (e.g., piano, conductor, drums, singer). Many film, TV, and video game composers have integrated some elements of classical music into their works (e.g., John Williams and Hans Zimmer, who performed live at Coachella this year). The popularity of film music has generated some renewed interest in classical music. This is evidenced by the increasing live film music performance from orchestras all around the country. For example, the prestigious New York Philharmonic is performing music from all three of the original Star Wars in September.

Compare to other popular hashtags, classical music tweets generated a lot less traffic and retweets. However, many US orchestras and philharmonics will be returning from their summer vacation and starting a new season soon, and we might see more performance related tweets in the next couple of months. Additionally, I am personally very excited to see the association between classical and film music, because this is a sign that people are still interested in the more classical and orchestral sound, which was thought to be outdated. Perhaps classical music is not dead but simply just lost, lost in its own complexity. This umbrella term ☂️ that embodies music from the past 500 years and its formality often intimidates listeners from feeling the emotion and passion in the music. This is an opportunity to transform classical music to better connect with the audience today, and I am excited to see the new trajectory for classical music.

Codes from this blog can be found here! Enjoy

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