Classical Music Stories

A Music Version of Doublethink (Classical Music Stories: 1984)


Every new version of this unsettling theme is the Thought Police altering the facts.

Classical Music Stories is a series that connects music to your favorite books and characters. Since listening to classical music can be like hearing a story, imagining specific stories that match the music can make it that much more fun and accessible!

At first, it’s easy to hear how the music keeps playing the same melody over and over again in slightly different ways. But over time that becomes harder and harder to hear.

The parallel between this and how Big Brother must have built up power in George Orwell’s novel, 1984, is actually pretty stunning. Did the doublethink start out almost “innocently,” just changing a small idea here and there, until it became out of control??

On top of that, as the music builds to a frenzy it really does sound like Big Brother growing more and more controlling–that is, before it dies down into a distorted, deceivingly “peaceful” section towards the middle (which sounds to me a lot like Winston’s life, if you know what I mean).

But then the music gets really weird.

“Variations” composed by Alfred Schnittke; performed by Simon Smith

Things turn oddly triumphant, but I don’t totally buy it. Something just doesn’t feel quite “right”… But while I kind of expected the powerful, frenzied Thought Police to come back because of that, the music psyched me out by switching to something super light and playful. What?!

But after some more fake-triumphant music the music becomes so fast and hectic that it all kind of makes sense. Things have become unhinged. They’re out of control.

Just like the world of 1984.

I won’t spoil the music’s ending for you, but it’s incredibly moving after you’ve followed the story all the way through. Let me know what you think about it in the comments below!

You can find many more Classical Music Stories for all kinds of different books here

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