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In music, crossover is a term used to describe material borrowed from a different style or genre and whose popularity crosses the considered boundaries of styles or genres.

For example, in the early years of rock and roll, many songs originally recorded by African-American musicians were re-recorded by white artists (such as Pat Boone) in a more toned-down style (often with changed lyrics) that lacked the hard edge of the original versions. These covers were popular with a much broader audience. White artists were also more likely to be included in the playlists of radio stations. Songs that become successful with a new audience are called crossovers, as they "cross over" from one audience to another.


Crossover as appreciation of music not normally listened to by a given audience

One way of defining crossover is a work from one genre of music becoming popular among listeners who ordinarily listen to another, more popular genre. For example, particular works of classical music sometimes become popular among individuals who mostly listen to popular music. Some classical works that achieved crossover status in the twentieth century include the Canon in D by Johann Pachelbel, the Symphony No. 3 by Henryk Górecki, and the second movement of Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 21, K. 467 (from its appearance in the 1967 film Elvira Madigan).

Often crossover results from the appearance of the music in question in a film score. For instance, Sacred Harp music experienced a spurt of crossover popularity as a result of its appearance in the 2003 film Cold Mountain, and bluegrass music experienced a revival due to the reception of 2000's O Brother, Where Art Thou?. Even atonal music, which tends to be less popular among classical enthusiasts, has a kind of crossover niche, since (as Charles Rosen has noted) it is widely used in film and television scores "to depict an approaching menace."

Crossover is highly prized by executives of the music industry, since the profits of a recording that achieves crossover status can be high.

Crossover as music of mixed genres

In popular music, the term crossover (together with the more appropriate crossover rock) was used in the 1980's to describe a style of aggressive rock and roll. Bands who appreciated the fast hardcore punk stylings of bands like Minor Threat and Negative Approach, and equally appreciated the fast heavy metal stylings of Slayer and Metallica, began combining elements of both styles for a new musical style that became generally known as crossover thrash but is sometimes called punk metal. The first notable band of this style was New York City's Stormtroopers Of Death. The two hotbeds of the style were located in New York City and Southern California, home to Suicidal Tendencies. Other notable bands of the era were the Crumbsuckers, Hirax, Leeway, Cryptic Slaughter, The Cro-Mags, Method Of Destruction, and Dirty Rotten Imbeciles (aka DRI).

Crossover can also refer to another very popular style that appeared in the early 1990's, when bands would mix together a multitude of pop styles such as funk, hip hop, punk rock, and some heavy metal. This style was initially referred to as funk metal. Some well-known crossover artists are Faith No More, Red Hot Chili Peppers and Rage Against The Machine.

However, crossover as mixing of genres in one piece has a longer tradition than that. Deep Purple's Concerto for Group and Orchestra (1969) and Gemini Suite Live (1970) are the earliest examples of this, wherein pop music crosses the border with classical music. Around the 1970s several pop music artists produced such classical/pop crossover music. For example, Frank Zappa composed pieces for performance by a classical orchestra. As soon as 1970, Alan Stivell began to systematically create a music from an interceltic cross-over to a universal cross-over, mixing it with a maximum of styles and cultures.

This is also called fusion, especially jazz fusion and celtic fusion, which mix jazz and celtic music with other styles.

Top artists and albums

Art Of Noise - The Seduction of Claude Debussy
Ariaphonics - Ariaphonics
Paul Schwartz - Aria 1
Charlotte Church - Enchantment
Emma Shapplin - Etterna
Josh Groban - Closer
Bond - Born
Sarah Brightman - La Luna
Andrea Bocelli - Cieli di Toscana
Amici Forever - The Opera Band
G4 - G4

See also

Further reading

  • Szwed, John F. (2005). Crossovers: Essays On Race, Music, And American Culture. ISBN 0812238826.
  • Brackett, David (Winter 1994). "The Politics and Practice of 'Crossover' in American Popular Music, 1963-65" The Musical Quarterly 78:4.

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Music Sound, v. 2.0, by MultiMedia

This guide is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia.

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