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Bridgerton Soundtracks: The Gap Between Pop & Classical Music Is Now...Bridged

A closer look at how "Bridgerton" combines classical and pop music as well as how seamlessly they manage to do it.

Image source: Netflix

The original Netflix series "Bridgerton" won global fans' acclaim from the first season. Many people, of course, watch it for the abundance of sex scenes and love drama, but we paid more attention to the soundtracks, which are essentially adaptations of modern pop songs played in a classical style. This makes sense, as in the Regency-era London, which is the setting of the series, artists like One Republic, Taylor Swift, or Sia would hardly have been in vogue.

The show blends classical and contemporary music, bridging the gap between pop and classical genres in a way that feels both fresh and nostalgic. The third season of the romantic drama is approaching in June, and from a musical perspective, it's noteworthy that it'll feature original compositions, not just orchestral pop covers like two previous seasons did.

We wanted to take a closer look at how "Bridgerton" combines classical and pop music and how seamlessly they manage to do it.

The cover soundtracks for season 1 and 2 debuted at #1 on the Billboard classical charts and within a month of the release of season 1, Vitamin String Quartet had a 350% increase in the number of people streaming their work when it was featured in season 2 - a testament to the series’ musical influence.

An effort to create a Regency TV drama appealing to younger audiences

"Bridgerton" follows the wealthy Bridgerton family and their close circle as they navigate the competitive marriage market of high society. The main premise revolves around the eight close-knit siblings of the powerful Bridgerton family— Anthony, Benedict, Colin, Daphne, Eloise, Francesca, Gregory, and Hyacinth—as they search for love and marriage while dealing with friends, rivals, scandals, and the anonymous gossip writer Lady Whistledown.

The first season focuses on the eldest Bridgerton daughter Daphne's courtship and eventual marriage to Simon Basset, the Duke of Hastings, while seasons 2 and 3 explore the romantic lives of the other Bridgerton siblings as they participate in the highly competitive and scandal-filled social season.

And amidst these love stories, scandals, gossips, and lavish ballrooms, there are modern pop songs that are hard to recognise since they're played as though they were composed specifically to be played in the Regency era England.

Predominantly performed by The Vitamin String Quartet and carefully curated by music supervisors, this blending of classics and pop enriches Chris Van Dusen's vision of an alternative Regency London where racial equality was established by King George III due to his wife Queen Charlotte's African heritage. Music supervisor Justin Kamps, who took over from Alexandra Patsavas in season two, continues to maintain this vision by selecting pop songs and transforming them into orchestral masterpieces.

Notably, season one featured covers like Ariana Grande’s “Thank U, Next” and Maroon 5’s “Girls Like You,” which set the tone for the series’ music soundscape.

"In season two, we start with the Pastel Ball, where the Sharmas are coming out for the first time to see everyone and be seen. Everyone else’s main reason to be there is to begin looking for potential pairings. What we’re hearing is a beautiful rendition of Madonna’s “Material Girl” by our composer, Kris Bowers," shares Bridgerton's music supervisor, Justin Kamps, in an interview with Shondaland. "And it’s the perfect song for this ball because you can see that these young women and men are looking for a match who comes from a good house or has lots of money — material things."

In that episode, we also hear the Hannah V and Joe Rodwell cover of Rihanna’s “Diamonds” during the Queen’s Diamond Ball.

The inspiration behind the fusion stems from a desire to create a Regency world that resonates with contemporary viewers and is appealing enough for younger audiences. Chris Van Dusen clearly wanted to make the show feel modern and relatable, which echoes with the director Julie Anne Robinson's vision, who drew inspiration from the classic rock covers in the film "A Knight's Tale."

Balls in Bridgerton have a special meaning, a place where all characters gather together and where all scandals, competition, and love matches take place, so balls, as you've probably guessed, are the main scenes where we can hear the classical renditions of modern pop.

Another lavish ball in season two (which shows the main characters of the season, Anthony and Kate, dancing for the first time and who share this tension from the moment they saw each other) feature “Dancing on My Own” by Robyn in a cover by Vitamin String Quartet.

The season also featured Miley Cyrus’s “Wrecking Ball,” capturing the tumultuous relationship between Anthony and Kate, and Calvin Harris’s “How Deep Is Your Love,” adding another sensual layer to their romantic climax.

Credit: Netflix

"They finally get a chance to dance together again, and it’s to the cover of Miley Cyrus’ “Wrecking Ball” by Midnite String Quartet. Finally, we have a moment where they get to be together after everything that’s happened, and it’s a bit freeing because everyone in the ton has heard what happened, and they’re still gossiping, but it’s a great moment because they finally get to dance with each other in a way that would fuel that gossip, but the Queen shuts them down immediately," shares Justin with Shondaland.

Kris Bowers, the series’ composer, explains how the team experimented with various approaches to achieve the perfect blend of classical and modern sounds. Initially, they attempted to modernise traditional compositions by recording them in contemporary styles and even writing modern music in the style of Beethoven, "chopping that up into samples and making beats out of it" but this didn't fully capture the desired effect.

A turning point came when Chris sent him Maurice Ravel piano pieces, opening up a new sound perspective. Ravel's early 20th-century music, romantic and dreamy, inspired him to think beyond the constraints of 1813 or 2020. This led him to write more modern progressions and harmonies, denser than typical Regency music. In season two, the composer continued this sound but leaned more into the pop aspect, knowing how essential it had become for the show's overall sound.

Season Three: Original compositions are on their way

As "Bridgerton" approaches its third season, fans can look forward to an even richer playlist. Season three promises to introduce original compositions alongside the beloved orchestral pop covers. The first half of the season, which is already out there for you to watch, features interpretations of popular tracks such as BTS's "Dynamite" and Billie Eilish's "Happier Than Ever," played by the Vitamin String Quartet, and Nick Jonas's "Jealous" covered by Shimmer.

For the first time, the series will also feature an original song, "All I Want," written by a team of renowned composers and performed by two-time Grammy winner Tori Kelly.

What classical pop covers appear in Bridgerton Season 3?

  • Gayle’s ‘abcdefu’, covered by Vitula (Episode 1)
  • BTS’ ‘Dynamite’, covered by Vitamin String Quartet (Episode 2)
  • Nick Jonas’ ‘Jealous’, covered by Shimmer (Episode 2)
  • Sia’s ‘Cheap Thrills’, covered by Vitamin String Quartet (Episode 3)
  • Billie Eilish’s ‘Happier Than Ever’, covered by Vitamin String Quartet (Episode 3)
  • Taylor Swift and Lana Del Rey’s ‘Snow on the Beach’ by Atwood Quartet (Episode 4)
  • Pitbull’s ‘Give Me Everything’, covered by Archer Marsh (Episode 4)

The covers for part two, which is about to be released on June 13, are not yet revealed.