I am a music teacher and many students request that I teach either Jewish music or classsical music.
What makes classical music appropriate ? What is considered Jewish music ?
Many famous chassidic Niggunim and zmirot as well as modern, Jewish music copied secular songs and just changed the lyrics. Many of those songs are still instrumental.
For example, Chabad niggunim are taken from Cossack drinking songs in Ukraine.
As I understand it, the lyrics and the intention of the composer/performer is what defines Jewish music as halachically permissible to write and perform.
Is “classical” music considered appropriate to play according to halacha?
Many instrumental classical pieces were commissioned to be written for the church. I still do not understand aside from lyrics , what defines Jewish music.
Are there any halachic sources ?
Jewish music has evolved over so many years and is always changing. Some Jewish music such as “Klezmer” music, although traditional in America, is frowned upon in the orthodox community because the lyrics poke fun at rabbis . On the other hand , modern chassidic music takes arrangements form 80s dance club music which is not appropriate for Jewish music .