Classical Music with Cannons: A Unique Experience

Classical music with cannons is a unique experience that you won’t want to miss. Follow our blog for the latest news and updates on this exciting event.


Welcome to Classical Music with Cannons: A Unique Experience! This concert series is dedicated to providing a one-of-a-kind musical experience by performing classical music pieces with live cannons.

This is not your typical concert series. We believe that music should be enjoyed in an immersive and exciting environment, which is why we’ve decided to combine two of our passions: classical music and cannons.

Each concert will feature a different repertoire, ranging from the well-known classics to lesser-known pieces that are sure to surprise and delight. And of course, there will be plenty of cannons! We hope you’ll join us for this unique and unforgettable experience.

What is classical music?

Classicism in music is a period of Western art music connected with the period from roughly the 1700s to the early 1800s. This is the time when composers were coming up with new ways to use harmony and were experimenting with different forms of composition. One of the most famous classical pieces is Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5, which has been called one of the most popular pieces of classical music ever written.


Though a comprehensive history of classical music would be too lengthy for the scope of this article, we can briefly explore where the genre originated. The roots of classical music lie in the traditions of Western liturgical and secular music of the late medieval period. These early flowering musical styles were codified in the 14th and 15th centuries in works such as the Notre Dame school of polyphony, which gave rise to composers such as Guillaume de Machaut, and the ars nova style of the 14th century, which spawned composers like Philippe de Vitry. In the 16th century, the contrapuntal style of Renaissance polyphony was developed further by composers such as Josquin des Prez, Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina and Orlando di Lasso.


Classical music is art music produced or rooted in the traditions of Western culture, including both liturgical (religious) and secular music. While a more precise term is also used to refer to the period from 1750 to 1820 (the Classical period), this article is about the broad span of time from before the 6th century AD to the present day, which includes the Classical period and various other periods.[1][2] The central norms of this tradition became codified between 1550 and 1900, which is known as the common-practice period.

Western staff notation is used by composers to indicate to the performer(s) the pitch, speed, meter, individual rhythms and exact sequence of a piece of music. This limits classical music to tonal works with fixed pitches written in Western staff notation; it omits most non-tonal works (including tuneful works without fixed pitches such as some works by John Cage and Karlheinz Stockhausen) as well as all popular music, jazz, world music and blues.[3]

What are cannons?

Cannons are a type of artillery that were first used in China. They were later adopted by the Europeans and used extensively in wars. Cannons are basically large guns that fire projectiles at a high velocity.


Cannons have been used for centuries as a way to create music. The first recorded use of cannons in music was in the 13th century, when they were used to create a loud noise during battle. Cannons were also used during the Renaissance period to create a sense of drama in public performances.

The most famous use of cannons in music is probably Handel’s “Royal Fireworks Music,” which was written to celebrate the Peace of Aix-la-Chapelle in 1748. The piece includes a cannon shot at the beginning, which was so loud that it caused a panic among the audience members who thought that there was an actual fire.

Cannons are still used occasionally in music today, usually for special effects. For example, the opening of Tchaikovsky’s “1812 Overture” includes cannon shots that represent the French artillery firing on the Russians during Napoleon’s retreat from Moscow.

How they work

Cannons are commonly used in classical music as a way to add excitement, or to accentuate a particularly stirring passage. But how do they work?

Cannons are fired using a small amount of black powder, which is ignited using a fuse. The powder ignites and creates a small explosion, which propels the cannonball out of the barrel.

Cannonballs are typically made of iron, and they vary in size depending on the type of cannon being used. Smaller cannons may fire balls that weigh only a few pounds, while larger ones can shoot balls that weigh hundreds of pounds.

Cannons are usually mounted on a platform or carriage, which allows them to be moved around and aimed in different directions. When it’s time to fire the cannon, the carriage is rolled into position and the cannonball is loaded into the barrel.

Once the cannonball is in place, the fuse is lit and the cannon is fired. The explosion propels the cannonball out of the barrel and towards its target.

The experience

A little over a year ago, I was fortunate enough to attend a concert with a truly unique twist: the Orchestra was playing classical music, and occasionally, they would fire a real cannon! The concert was held in an open field, and the audience was seated on blankets and lawn chairs. It was a beautiful day, and the music was absolutely incredible.

How it feels

Most people would associate classical music with a more traditional setting, such as a concert hall or an opera house. However, one unique experience that is becoming increasingly popular is listening to classical music while watching a live cannon firing.

This may sound like an unusual combination, but it is actually a very exhilarating and moving experience. The cannon provides a visceral and powerful complement to the music, and the combination of the two can be truly unforgettable.

If you have the opportunity to attend a classical music performance with cannons, we highly recommend it!

What you hear

Music with Cannons is an outdoor concert series that takes place in Fort York’s historic Garrison Common. The concerts feature the music of Tchaikovsky, Mozart, and Beethoven, performed by the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and the Canadian Opera Company. The music is accompanied by a spectacular display of fireworks, making it a truly unique experience.


In conclusion, Classical Music with Cannons is a unique experience that is perfect for those who appreciate both classical music and the majesty of cannons. This event is not to be missed!

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