A discussion forum for history enthusiasts everywhere
 
HomeHome  ShortcutsShortcuts  FAQFAQ  RegisterRegister  Log inLog in  

Share | 
 

 Music That Changed History

View previous topic View next topic Go down 
AuthorMessage
nordmann
Nobiles BarbariƦ
avatar

Posts : 5486
Join date : 2011-12-25

PostSubject: Music That Changed History   Thu 15 Nov 2012, 09:55

Music has always been a great encapsulator of time and place - when someone makes an historical documentary or drama, for example, it is a powerful aid to play music in the background relevant to the events and times depicted in order to immediately evoke an atmosphere of presence and impart a reality to the story being presented. But sometimes music has stepped out of that background to take central stage in history itself; it has become a player in the unfolding drama and a catalyst for historical change - on occasion great change.

To take one example: in April 1974 the Portuguese dictatorship established by Salazar (now headed by Prime Minister Caetano) seemed, to the bulk of the population and the world at large, as impregnable and permanent as ever. What the Portuguese public could not know however was that for two months a small group of military officers had been secretly plotting to stage a coup. Their intentions are still a subject of debate, seeming to range from a simple takeover of the dictatorship's hierarchy to its complete abolition. What could not have been predicted by any of them was the public's response. When the coup was finally put in motion on the 25th the streets were immediately filled with hundreds of thousands of citizens, at first interpreted as a spontaneous but directionless movement, but which quickly developed, as the "Carnation revolution" continued, into an emphatic demand for democracy.



One signal for that coup was a pre-arranged playing on the radio of that year's Portuguese entry in the forthcoming Eurovision Song Contest " "E depois do adeus" sung by Paulo de Carvalho. The song itself was to finish joint last in the competition a few weeks later but to the Portuguese this mattered little. Its place in their country's history had been secured.



The other signal used was also a song - this time by the then banned folk singer Zeca Alonso whose rendition of "Grandola, Vila Morena" was the cue for the coup leaders to announce to the public they had ousted the old regime.



Other songs spring to mind which were more specifically written to effect change, and others which played that role accidentally, though few maybe with quite as sudden an effect as that above. Are there any which you feel maybe deserve a place on this list of music as political or social catalysts of change?
Back to top Go down
http://reshistorica.historyboard.net
Triceratops
Censura
avatar

Posts : 2755
Join date : 2012-01-05

PostSubject: Re: Music That Changed History   Thu 15 Nov 2012, 10:11

"Lillibullero" from the late 17th Century, was reputed to have sung James VII and II out of the kingdoms.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lillibullero

Back to top Go down
ferval
Censura
avatar

Posts : 2380
Join date : 2011-12-27

PostSubject: Re: Music That Changed History   Thu 15 Nov 2012, 10:31

The music of Mikis Theodorakis could be said to have encapsulated the resistance to the regime of the Colonels in Greece and it was illegal to play, posses or listen to any of it.
I must admit I didn't even realise he was still alive but I see that not only is he still with us but continues to be a symbol of resistance and survival there.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/eirini-zarkadoula/mikis-theodorakis-the-gre_b_2116915.html
Back to top Go down
nordmann
Nobiles BarbariƦ
avatar

Posts : 5486
Join date : 2011-12-25

PostSubject: Re: Music That Changed History   Fri 16 Nov 2012, 08:12

Another song that springs to mind, though it was probably a lottery at the time as to which song of its genre (essentially black music sung by white people) would be the one to make the breakthrough and impinge on the consciousness to such a degree that it meant something fundamental to almost everyone - the proof of a decline of standards into delinquency on the part of an older generation and something akin to liberation for their younger contemporaries. Its specific role in changing history is open to debate but it is most definitely seen generally as a watershed in western society, and one which heralded social changes that reached far beyond a simple revision of popular musical tastes.

Back to top Go down
http://reshistorica.historyboard.net
Triceratops
Censura
avatar

Posts : 2755
Join date : 2012-01-05

PostSubject: Re: Music That Changed History   Fri 16 Nov 2012, 15:52

This is certainly a protest song, whether actually changed history I'm not sure,though it may have been influential in changing attitudes;

Back to top Go down
nordmann
Nobiles BarbariƦ
avatar

Posts : 5486
Join date : 2011-12-25

PostSubject: Re: Music That Changed History   Fri 16 Nov 2012, 16:23

One unlikely candidate is Martin Luther, of all people. Not content with being the catalyst whereby western christianty was to split and diffuse with such huge social consequences in its wake, Luther also assaulted history in a most unexpected way. As part of his effort to reform and redefine the role of christian congregations he suggested that singing in church, hitherto the preserve of choirs, should be an event in which everyone participated, and in their local tongue. To do this however meant popularising the notion of easy to remember and easy to sing hymns, of which at the time very few examples existed. Not one to shirk at a challenge Luther took Psalm 46 and set it to the music of a then popular folk song in his native Saxony; the hymn "A Mighty Fortress Is Our God" still being one belted out with fervour, spittle and the odd bum note by assembled Christians in Protestant churches around the world.

Besides facilitating the social reforms mentioned above it is important to note also that this new form of choir required new choral arrangements. Multiple part harmonies, background vocals, the classification of male and female voice ranges, and indeed the idea of a conductor (used first in choral work before adapted for orchestral concerts), all stemmed from this radical new approach to communal singing.

All together now ...


Back to top Go down
http://reshistorica.historyboard.net
 

Music That Changed History

View previous topic View next topic Back to top 
Page 1 of 1

Permissions in this forum:You cannot reply to topics in this forum
Res Historica History Forum :: The history of people ... :: Civilisation and Community-