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instrumental in music ideology

Thread Contributor: UFO_over_easyIdeology in instrumental music

#26
...how about the history of American civil rights? -you could definitely see that jazz became a cultural touchstone of the movement... the music attained an almost documentary gravity comparable to newsreel footage of police attacks in Selma and Birmingham, Alabama, and figures such as Orville Faubus (subject of one of the very best instrumental jazz compositions ever although there was also a version with vocal) and tragedies such as the Montgomery church bombing were natural inspirations for jazz composers and improvisers...


... and not only in America was civil rights history made, but in Europe by European musicians such as Alexander von Schlippenbach, who looms very large in any discussion of jazz and free improvisation as a precipitative cultural force in Europe's late century transitions.
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#27
SETI Wrote:...how about the history of American civil rights? -you could definitely see that jazz became a cultural touchstone of the movement...

sure... music can be a vital cornerstone of any political movement, especially a resistance movement

but then the music is usually appropriated to that end, used for purposes that the musicians had not planned

it rarely works when previously non-political musicians try to write specifically to a political end — or rather compromise their musical vision to fit a political one

anyway, music itself can be political... writing Catholic masses was a political act in protestant Tudor England; Beethoven wrote variations on God Save the King and Rule Britannia deliberately as anti-Napoleonic gesture; ... many more examples...
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#28
even von Schlippenbach said something to the effect of

"I completely agree there was a political effect coming from the musicians' activities at that time... I even think that we made a secret contribution to the removal of the Berlin Wall by playing a lot of free jazz and improvised music in the DDR."


...i believe they were very deliberate, and so was Mingus when he wrote "fables of Faubus" and they achieved what they set to do
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#29
UFO_over_easy Wrote:Naphta - all I can really say is that I need to send you some music for you to check out!! Smile

Do you AIM at all?

No, can't use it in work, and no connection at home u fortunately... must try and sort this shit out somehow..
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#30
SETI Wrote:even von Schlippenbach said something to the effect of

"I completely agree there was a political effect coming from the musicians' activities at that time... I even think that we made a secret contribution to the removal of the Berlin Wall by playing a lot of free jazz and improvised music in the DDR."


...i believe they were very deliberate, and so was Mingus when he wrote "fables of Faubus" and they achieved what they set to do

I think there's a distinction to be made here...

it's the difference between:
- making music as a political act in itself
- making music that is specifically political

in a resistance context — e.g. when a government doesn't like what you're doing and wants you to stop — there's no difficulty: your music making is political whether you want it to be or not.

similarly when there's a general movement in all fields towards freedom and free thinking, and you take that cultural conciousness into your approach to music making.

but when you're in England (say) and music making does not have an immediate political context - because the government is happy for you to get on with it, regarding you as no threat at all; and there's no trend towards anything in particular, apart from consumerism - how do you give it one?

without that context, pushing musical extremes means you get increasingly marginalised the further you go, and then very often you come to question the relevance of what you're doing.

been there, done that Wink
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#31
yeh, there's no need to politicize the music any more than it is naturally... in the US music is politicized a lot more by general corruption all around... for example, the FCC and the RIAA...


...isn't music making politicized even in the UK by the efforts of the American RIAA making an effort to have certain sectors of the music industry play by it's rules? -even in the drum and bass scene in the UK you have people on RIAA's roster of labels, that means their money is going toward litigation against people who fileshare etc.
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#32
Naphta Wrote:
UFO_over_easy Wrote:Naphta - all I can really say is that I need to send you some music for you to check out!! Smile

Do you AIM at all?

No, can't use it in work, and no connection at home u fortunately... must try and sort this shit out somehow..

I'll send you an mp3 cd if you like. You need to hear some of this stuff Smile
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#33
The only ideas music can express are musical ideas. It can't reproduce the figurative effects of language. It can imitate and represent figures within its own medium tho.

It can be PART of ideology: i.e. French Baroque composers wrote music that was simple and non offensive to fit with the ideology Louis X1V had at the time. But music can't carry an ideological message just by itself, it's too subjective.

As for Shostakovich, don't be fooled by the nice romantic tales you hear from Solomon Volkov about how he was a silently oppressed victim of Stalin. Some scholars present 'evidence' that he was already working on the 10th before Stalin died. Testimony is pretty much a story book, read Taruskin, Fanning and Faye for a more impartial view.
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#34
Statto Wrote:but when you're in England (say) and music making does not have an immediate political context - because the government is happy for you to get on with it, regarding you as no threat at all; and there's no trend towards anything in particular, apart from consumerism - how do you give it one?

political context isn't just about governments and policies - no one lives in a political vacuum. everyone is automatically a product of their own political context, you can never remove yourself from your place in time.
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#35
Mixolydian Wrote:political context isn't just about governments and policies - no one lives in a political vacuum. everyone is automatically a product of their own political context, you can never remove yourself from your place in time.

sure sure... in a chin-stroking philosophical sort of way

but when you're questioning the concrete relevance of what you're doing, recognising that it might arise vaguely from the general milieu (political or otherwise) is ... well it's just meaningless bollocks really
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#36
it's not about questioning relevance, and things don't arise *vaguely* from general political and social conditions. the general conditions influence how the work is formed and received, so i'd say they're quite important.
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#37
Mixolydian Wrote:it's not about questioning relevance, and things don't arise *vaguely* from general political and social conditions. the general conditions influence how the work is formed and received, so i'd say they're quite important.

nevertheless that's all too vague to interest me even a little bit
I can feel my brain freezing over just trying to draft a reply

and anyway, it is about questioning relevance because that was what I talking about (see the earlier post about AMM)

also...

Mixolydian Wrote:But music can't carry an ideological message just by itself, it's too subjective.

it can if (part of) the music already has an inherent ideological message
e.g. Beethoven's variations on God Save the King and Rule Britannia

the ideological context was already established as "hurrah for Britain!", so by writing attractive (and instrumental) variations on these tunes at a time when his native Prussia was occupied by French forces, Beethoven was basically saying "fuck you Napoleon!"
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#38
But that's my point - the music itself isn't ideological - it can't be. The music can be used for political purposes, but then it becomes the ACT of performing the song that is ideological. The actual tones cannot be ideological.

The music is manipulated so that it is used in an ideological context, but that is not the same as the tones 'being' ideology.

Music is music, it's the way we receive, interpret and perform that makes it political, ideological, propaganda etc.
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#39
And in the case of God Save the Queen, it's the words that carry ideology, not the music.

If I play CCDBCD on the piano, that isn't ideological, it's just a succession of notes. However, if I were to play this succession of notes every time Tony Blair gave a speech I would be *giving* that action a political connotation. It's now associated with Blair, it's not the notes that make it political but the association.
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#40
I know what you're saying Grin

but equally the obscure arrangements of sound we call speech have no meaning beyond those which we choose to give them.

can you separate particular musical patterns from the associations they already have? (supposing we've given them any)

such as EEFEDC? Teef
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#41
actually i don't know why i'm quibbling over this Oops
it's not really of any great moment

can we talk about this instead...?

statto Wrote:more interesting than whether or not music is political... what happens when musicians query the relevance of their work and wish to bring politics into it?

amm split because of this. i'm not sure who exactly went which way (without checking) but certainly cornelius cardew went away to write polemic music, while others stayed to pursue the art music itself.

this is partly what makes eddie prévost's book so interesting... where he justifies the music making itself (or rather amm's approach to music making) as a meaningful political act.

[Image: happywave.gif]
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#42
i doubt this'll head to the direction statto wished but anyways i'm just a bit troubled with listening these certain nsbm - meaning national socialist black metal - bands like graveland or hate forest or nokturnal mortum (altho i'm not too fond of nm's material myself).

the lyrics or the music themselves aren't on most cases directly ns influenced (those that are, are half serious and/or suck so bad that besides the ns image and embarrassing band logos they have nothing to offer) but the sumerian influenced pagan mythology (that is very similar if not identical to the mythologies the national socialist party adapted) usually has a very crucial position (is this the correct word?) in the band, is notable in lyrics, in the music and especially on band logos and cover art. most importantly the bands vocally consider themselves as nsbm acts.

can't really get my head straight on this case. i can't help thinking that musical talent doesn't look into ones political views and that i can both respect the musical value of the band and have a personal appeal to it but still the thought of all music being political is kinda fascinating. of course i don't consider myself pro-ns but ancient pagan mythology does intrigue me a little and to some extent (not very high tho) i symphatize the "pro-pagan" people who feel oppressed by todays society.
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#43
Chin

intersting thread this

anyone ever read 'the political economy of noise' ?
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#44
hardtimes Wrote:Chin

intersting thread this

anyone ever read 'the political economy of noise' ?

Yes a very good read, although it was quite a long time ago that i read it
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#45
a search for "Graveland" brought this thread back up

Fauxpas
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