All right; there's a ton of research to do and it'll be a while before I have anything significant enough to begin writing the timeline, but until then let's try this:

Osmosis? Have you finally lost what remains of your mind, Trollheart? What the heck has science got to do with classical music? Well, let's not get into that, but what I'm pointing out here, in my usual oblique way, is that no matter what age you are, assuming you are old enough to be reading this, ie old enough to be a member of this forum, and even if you hate classical music, there is a one hundred percent chance that you have heard at least one piece of classical. Whether it's been through the telly, the movies, on an ad, mashed up or sampled by some pop or rock artist, the process of osmosis means, in this case, that you have absorbed possibly more classical music than you even realise.

To demonstrate this, I'm now going to show you all some examples where classical has been used and you may not even have known what it was. Obviously, many of you will know these pieces, but it's just to give you an idea of how ubiquitous classical music is and what an influence it has had, and continues to have, on our daily lives, perhaps despite us.

If you've seen the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey (or indeed, the Simpsons episode Deep Space Homer) you'll have heard this piece of music, composed by Austrian Richard Strauss in 1896, called “Also Spracht Zarathustra” (or “Thus Spake Zarathustra”), or at least the opening fanfare, “Sunrise”.

In the same movie (and Simpsons episode) you'll have heard this waltz by Johann Strauss II (no relation), the classic “The Blue Danube”, (well it's called that now, but the full title, in case you care, is called "On the Beautiful Blue Danube") composed thirty years earlier, in 1866.

If you're from my side of the pond and have suffered through The X-Factor at any point in your life you'll recognise the theme music here, which is a famous extract from, believe it or not, a cantanta (vocal/choral work) based on the medieval writings Carmina Burana, translated and re-written by German Carl Orff as recently as 1936. The bit you know (and you may also have heard it in John Boorman's movie Excalibur, the “Old Spice” aftershave ad, and various other places) is called “O Fortuna”.

And if, like me, you're a fan of the UK Apprentice, this will be familiar to you as its opening titles. But were you aware this is from a ballet based on Shakespeare's epic love tragedy, Romeo and Juliet? It's called “Montagues and Capulets”, and was penned, also in 1935, by Russian composer Sergei Prokofiev. It's also called “Dance of the Knights”.

Any metal fan will have heard this opening either Diamond Head or Metallica's “Am I evil?” and no doubt other places too. It's from The Planets suite, a work created by Gustav Holst, an English composer, between 1915 and 1916, and is in fact the opening movement of that suite, called “Mars: the Bringer of War.”

Whether you came across it via Oribtal's re-recording of it, or as accompaniment to that climactic scene in Oliver Stone's Platoon, you'll certainly be familiar with Samuel Barber's heartbreaking “Adagio for Strings”, even if you weren't aware that that was what it was called.

and finally, for now, if you've ever watched figure skating, you'll have heard Maurice Ravel's “Bolero”, composed in 1928.

Feel free to share your own favourites. It's amazing how much classical music has bled into our daily lives through the television and movies. More to come later.

Note: sorry for the links, but we're restricted to the one video per post here. Hope the extra clicks don't tire you out! Believe me, if you haven't, for some reason, heard these pieces it's definitely worth the effort.