Function and effect of music in politics

Social, national, religious, and ethnic conflicts, have repeatedly been objects of direct reference and articulation for music and politics is not an exemption.

Function and effect

Politically instrumentalized music through its inclusion in politics is not yet political music. For example, jazz or twelve-tone technology is not “in themselves” political. Jazz and twelve-tone technique became a political issue when they were ostracized as “degenerate”, “Jewish”, “cultural Bolshevik” in the Hitler regime, and they were used by the composers in the music of the anti-fascist resistance. Music has also an effect when buying gifts at https://medium.com/@playtime/best-toys-gifts-for-3-year-old-boys-cfe86ff9e578.

Awareness is a crucial requirement of political music, both on the part of the producers and on the part of the recipients. If music is to be used to achieve political effects – in the sense of enlightenment, social criticism, support in the struggle for power but also in the sense of counter-enlightenment, manipulation, concealment of exploitation and repression – a conscious positioning in political disputes is essential. This has to do with the fact that the political dimension of music can only ever develop in a real social force field of conflicting interests.

The political is not an inherent quality of music. Nor is it to be reduced to the external side of the music, to the text messages that are set to music. Texts can concretize the political function of music, but music is not a neutral means of transport for political text messages.

Forms of political music

Political music in this sense is very old and is likely to have played an important role in the city-states of Greek and Roman antiquity, even if there is no tradition here. Since then, however, it has developed in a wide variety of contexts. This is reflected in various forms of political music. These include the political song, the workers’ fight music, or the music of the anti-fascist resistance.

A very old form of political music that is still alive today is the political song. It enjoys such a long-lasting and unbroken tradition not least because under the conditions of political oppression it is a weapon of those who need it and has no other – the powerless, disenfranchised, exploited, and oppressed. Their strongest weapon in social and political disputes is collectivity, for which song can play a central role as a cultural communication medium in order to give a sensual and audible expression to the community in the commonality of song. But the political song is also a form of political counter-public.