0
$\begingroup$

In addition to not getting sued, I also want my work to come off as standing on its own. I wouldn’t even worry about it if not for the fact that one of the battleships in the legion is captained by a music fanatic. Making up names for future music and relying solely on vague descriptions of them would really take away from the picture I want to paint of this captain and her crew, which I would be loath to ignore because the ship’s name is music related and the captain’s character is pretty well shaped at this point (not my fault)

For context, humans left a dying Earth almost 500 years ago with a very generous alien race that took them to a new solar system, gave them a planet, and taught them everything they know about space travel (including FTL) The humans have since formed a military and government hand in hand with the alien race that rescued them, this being the aliens’ stipulation for giving them a new planet and the means to slowly but surely begin settling on others. I figure after 400+ years, music from our century and the last would be referred to as classical, but I don’t want it to seem like I’m biting off of Star Trek, even if it seems obvious to me that this would be the case several centuries into Earthling future.

Also, if I’m wrong about this and music from recent eras probably wouldn’t be called classical or if there’s something else I can call it to get around looking like a copycat, please let me know. Thanks in advance.

Clarification: My main concern was whether or not I would have to worry about legal repercussions for referring to real life modern day music as ‘classical’. I was unsure whether or not this was generally and/or legally seen by the vast majority as a trademark Star Trek thing or not. In addition, I wanted to know whether or not I was incorrect in assuming that music from our time would naturally be referred to as ‘classical’ a few centuries into the future and if it may be referred to as something else. I could think of nothing else to call it aside from classical music, though I was obviously not entirely comfortable with that, and the answers I’ve received have shown that it’s not the only option.

$\endgroup$
9
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I think this is better suited for Writing SE. $\endgroup$ – Alexander Nov 5 '19 at 22:34
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Doctor Who did the same thing with "Toxic" by Britney Spears, and Futurama did the same thing with "Baby Got Back" (aka "I Like Big Butts And I Cannot Lie"). Neither of them were sued by Star Trek. You're fine. $\endgroup$ – F1Krazy Nov 6 '19 at 7:00
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Most westerners today listen to "baroque" music, which includes a wide spectrum from punk to bluegrass to classical and more. It's named after the characteristics of the baroque period (~1600-1750), which predated the classical period. Western baroque tends to be tonal- and melody-based. African music tends to be rhythm-based, and indian and chinese music tends to be harmony-based. Be sure that your future captain isn't just a western-music snob. According to The Simpsons S7E24 (Homerpalooza), all old music is simply called "oldies." $\endgroup$ – user535733 Nov 6 '19 at 16:01
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ The short answer is "Yes". Star Trek doesn't own the trope of calling contemporary music :classical' in the future. Doctor Who did it in 1964. "I didn't know the Beatles played classical music." It might be called Dying Earth Era music. Music is often named after its historical time. Medieval music etc, etc. $\endgroup$ – a4android Nov 6 '19 at 23:20
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Classical is a genre not a period, it applies to a range of styles of music that are still written in the modern age. $\endgroup$ – Separatrix Nov 7 '19 at 8:31
4
$\begingroup$

You can name it anything you want.

You're talking about hundreds of years in the future. Humans and/or aliens might use any kind of word they want to refer to centuries-old music. It really is up to you, the author and builder of your world.

However, if the music has survived, then it is possible the old labels or designations will have survived as well. For example, a human might see that Michael Jackson - Thriller is labeled in the original system as "80's Funk", and as such will call it that. They might find works of Beethoven labeled as "Classical" and so might just call it classical.

It all depends on what kind of information has survived through the centuries, the way your civilizations have evolved, and your own worldbuilding decisions. Space is the limit!


You have nothing to worry about in terms of copyrights... nobody can copyright the term "classical" music.

$\endgroup$
3
$\begingroup$

Not all old music is classical. "Classical music" in traditional sense applies to the music in classical Western tradition. There is no firm criteria, but classical music usually performed by the instruments of symphonic orchestra with strict adherence to musical sheet.

We can not tell how this definition would stand in 500 years, and there is no copyright or trademark on term "Classical Music", so you are free to do anything you want.

$\endgroup$
2
$\begingroup$

The farther you get from a terms origin, the less specific people tend to be. For example, the Archaic period used to refer to a specific time period in the ancient world, but now it's just anything old. People wear medieval armor at renaissance festivals, and most history buffs are just glad they got it right within a few centuries. Even the word "Classical" itself once referred to a specific time period in ancient history, but it is now attributed to musical styles that originated over 1000 years later.

A few more centuries from now, most people will probably call our music classical and our technological age industrial. Your rare history Nazi will make a big deal about it, but even most people studying "classical" music will probably struggle to differentiate between Jazz and Rock-and-Roll the same way art history students now struggle with Rococo vs Dutch Resenance.

$\endgroup$
1
$\begingroup$

I'd say you have nothing to worry about copyright-wise. It'll certainly be older than most classical music we have today in setting. Might want to go for things like 20th century rock and labels like that;then have them fall under the broader branch of classical. Also that way you can have neoclassical throwback bands to these old ones. I can see that being pretty niche but viable for future music.

$\endgroup$

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.