6 Classical Music Pieces in Neon Genesis Evangelion: Revealed

by Barbara

Neon Genesis Evangelion, directed by Hideaki Anno and produced by Gainax, is an iconic anime series that has left a lasting impact on the medium and its viewers since its debut in 1995. One of the many aspects that make this series unique is its use of classical music. The incorporation of these timeless pieces adds a layer of depth and complexity to the narrative, enhancing emotional resonance and providing a stark contrast to the futuristic and often dystopian setting of the series. This article delves into the classical compositions featured in Neon Genesis Evangelion, exploring how they contribute to the show’s thematic and emotional landscape.

The Role of Classical Music in Neon Genesis Evangelion

Classical music in Neon Genesis Evangelion is not just a backdrop; it plays a crucial role in setting the tone and atmosphere of the series. The music often underscores key moments, reflecting the inner turmoil of characters, highlighting the apocalyptic stakes, and providing a juxtaposition to the sci-fi elements. The choice of classical pieces adds a timeless and universal quality to the story, bridging the gap between the past and the future.

Johann Sebastian Bach: The Master of Baroque

1. Air on the G String

One of the most prominent pieces featured in Neon Genesis Evangelion is Johann Sebastian Bach’s “Air on the G String.” This serene and melancholic composition is used multiple times throughout the series, often during introspective or emotionally charged scenes. Its soothing melody provides a stark contrast to the chaos and violence that frequently occurs, emphasizing the human elements of the story.

In Episode 15, “Lies and Silence,” “Air on the G String” is played during a reflective moment between Misato Katsuragi and Ryoji Kaji. This choice of music underscores the complex emotions and unresolved tensions between the characters, adding a layer of poignancy to their interactions.

2. Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring

Another piece by Bach featured in the series is “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring.” This uplifting and spiritually resonant composition appears during moments of calm and contemplation. It serves as a reminder of the characters’ humanity and the underlying hope that persists despite the dire circumstances they face.

In Episode 24, “The Final Messenger,” this piece is used during a pivotal scene involving Kaworu Nagisa. The serene and hopeful melody contrasts with the impending sense of doom, highlighting the tragic beauty of Kaworu’s character and his ultimate fate.

Ludwig van Beethoven: The Epitome of Passion and Struggle

3. Symphony No. 9 in D Minor, Op. 125 (Ode to Joy)

Ludwig van Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9, particularly the “Ode to Joy” section, is another significant classical piece featured in Neon Genesis Evangelion. This composition is synonymous with themes of unity, triumph, and the human spirit. Its inclusion in the series underscores moments of intense emotion and pivotal narrative developments.

In the final episodes of the series, the “Ode to Joy” serves as a powerful auditory backdrop to the unfolding drama. It symbolizes the characters’ struggle for understanding and connection amidst the chaos of their world. The use of Beethoven’s masterpiece highlights the contrast between the aspirational ideals of joy and the harsh realities the characters endure.

Pachelbel’s Canon in D

4. Canon in D Major

Johann Pachelbel’s Canon in D Major is another classical piece that finds its place in the soundtrack of Neon Genesis Evangelion. Known for its repetitive and harmonious structure, the Canon in D is often associated with weddings and peaceful moments. However, in the context of Evangelion, it takes on a more introspective and contemplative role.

This piece is featured in Episode 15, “Lies and Silence,” during a dinner scene with the main characters. The calm and structured melody of the Canon contrasts with the underlying tensions and unspoken conflicts among the characters, reflecting the dichotomy of their outward appearances and internal struggles.

George Frideric Handel: The Majesty of Baroque

5. Messiah (Hallelujah Chorus)

George Frideric Handel’s “Hallelujah Chorus” from the Messiah is one of the most recognizable pieces of classical music. Its grand and triumphant melody is typically associated with celebration and divine praise. In Neon Genesis Evangelion, the “Hallelujah Chorus” is used to underscore moments of revelation and epiphany.

In Episode 24, the “Hallelujah Chorus” plays during a significant revelation about the true nature of the Evangelions. The majestic and awe-inspiring music amplifies the gravity of the moment, emphasizing the profound and often unsettling truths that are uncovered.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: The Prodigy of Classical Music

6. Symphony No. 40 in G Minor, K. 550

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Symphony No. 40 in G Minor is featured in the series, adding a touch of classical elegance to the soundtrack. This symphony, known for its emotional depth and dynamic contrasts, reflects the turbulent and multifaceted nature of the series’ narrative.

The symphony’s inclusion highlights moments of tension and conflict, mirroring the internal and external battles faced by the characters. Its intricate and expressive melodies enhance the dramatic impact of key scenes, adding a layer of sophistication to the storytelling.

Thematic and Symbolic Implications

The use of classical music in Neon Genesis Evangelion is not just for aesthetic purposes; it carries significant thematic and symbolic weight. Each piece of music is carefully chosen to reflect and enhance the emotional and narrative context of the scenes in which they appear. The timeless nature of these compositions underscores the universal themes of the series, such as the search for identity, the struggle for connection, and the existential questions that plague humanity.

The Search for Meaning

Classical music often accompanies scenes where characters grapple with profound existential questions. The serene and contemplative melodies provide a backdrop for introspection and self-discovery, highlighting the characters’ search for meaning and purpose in a chaotic and often incomprehensible world.

The Contrast Between Humanity and Technology

The juxtaposition of classical music with the futuristic and dystopian setting of Neon Genesis Evangelion emphasizes the tension between humanity and technology. The timeless and organic nature of the music contrasts with the cold and mechanical world of the Evangelions and the technological apparatus that surrounds them. This contrast serves to highlight the enduring human spirit amidst the dehumanizing aspects of technology.

Emotional Resonance

The emotional impact of classical music is undeniable, and its use in the series amplifies the emotional resonance of key scenes. The music’s ability to convey complex emotions and evoke deep feelings enhances the viewers’ connection to the characters and their struggles. Whether it is the serene melancholy of Bach or the triumphant majesty of Beethoven, the music elevates the emotional stakes of the narrative.

See Also:6 Classical Music Pieces Inspired by Swans: All You Want to Know


The integration of classical music in Neon Genesis Evangelion is a testament to the series’ depth and sophistication. The carefully selected compositions not only enhance the aesthetic experience but also enrich the narrative and emotional landscape of the series. From the serene introspection of Bach to the triumphant majesty of Beethoven, the classical pieces featured in Neon Genesis Evangelion add a timeless quality to the story, bridging the gap between the past and the future. The music underscores the universal themes of the series, reflecting the enduring human spirit amidst the chaos and uncertainty of a dystopian world. Through its use of classical music, Neon Genesis Evangelion transcends the boundaries of the anime genre, creating an unforgettable and profoundly moving experience for its viewers.

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