Musicians have used artillery to engender shock for centuries, dating back to classical music of the late 1700s. As conductor Leon Botstein wrote in The New York Times, “The anticipation and experience of soldiers marching and the ominous sounds of battle have been captured by music.” Sometimes this has been done quite literally, the most obvious example being Tchaikovsky’s “The Year 1812, Festival Overture in E flat major, Op. 49,” a.k.a. the “1812 Overture,” with its climactic cannon part. This was actually not the Russian composer’s idea—less famously, Italian opera composer Giuseppe Sarti did it first with his “Te Deum,” also known as the “Russian Oratorio” in 1789 to celebrate the Russo-Turkish War’s Seige of Ochakov. Beethoven also tried his hand at composing with sounds straight from the battlefield. His “Wellington’s Victory,” a commemoration of the Duke of Wellington’s triumph at the 1813 Battle of Vitoria in Spain, calls for muskets. It’s known as one of Beethoven’s worst works.
The Atlantic, “Bang! The Long, Loud History of Gunshots in Music”