Has the building got columns in front of it? Check. Has the music got lots of strings and horns? Check. Chances are both are classical — representative of a past culture.

Often classical describes anything from ancient Greek or Roman culture, because, boy, those guys were good. Be careful when using classical and classic; they're not exactly the same. While something classical is usually a classic, it doesn't necessarily work the other way around. A classic is something exceptional that we tend to judge in a different time frame. A classic rock album? Definitely not made by the ancient Greeks or Romans. So far as we know.

Definitions of classical
  1. adjective
    of or relating to the most highly developed stage of an earlier civilisation and its culture
    synonyms: classic
    Graeco-Roman, Greco-Roman, Hellenic, classic
    of or pertaining to or characteristic of the ancient Greek and Roman cultures
    neoclassic, neoclassical
    characteristic of a revival of an earlier classical style
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    not classical
    characteristic of present-day art and music and literature and architecture
    pop, popular
    (of music or art) new and of general appeal (especially among young people)
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  2. adjective
    of or pertaining to or characteristic of the ancient Greek and Roman cultures
    classical mythology”
    synonyms: Graeco-Roman, Greco-Roman, Hellenic, classic
    of or relating to the most highly developed stage of an earlier civilisation and its culture
  3. adjective
    of or relating to the study of the literary works of ancient Greece and Rome
    “a classical scholar”
  4. adjective
    (language) having the form used by ancient standard authors
    classical Greek”
    received, standard
    conforming to the established language usage of educated native speakers
  5. adjective
    of recognized authority or excellence
    classical methods of navigation”
    synonyms: authoritative, classic, definitive
    established or well-known or widely recognized as a model of authority or excellence
  6. noun
    traditional genre of music conforming to an established form and appealing to critical interest and developed musical taste
    synonyms: classical music, serious music
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    an oratorio composed by Handel in 1742
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    chamber music
    serious music performed by a small group of musicians
    a drama set to music; consists of singing with orchestral accompaniment and an orchestral overture and interludes
    cantata, oratorio
    a musical composition for voices and orchestra based on a religious text
    a composition for orchestra and a soloist
    a musical form consisting of a theme repeated a fifth above or a fourth below its first statement
    rondeau, rondo
    a musical form that is often the last movement of a sonata
    a musical composition of 3 or 4 movements of contrasting forms
    bouffe, comic opera, opera bouffe, opera comique
    opera with a happy ending and in which some of the text is spoken
    grand opera
    opera in which all the text is sung
    musical drama
    opera in which the musical and dramatic elements are equally important; the music is appropriate to the action
    concerto grosso
    a baroque composition for orchestra and a group of solo instruments
    piano sonata
    a sonata for piano
    a short and simple sonata
    symphonic music, symphony
    a long and complex sonata for symphony orchestra
    type of:
    genre, music genre, musical genre, musical style
    an expressive style of music
Word Family

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