i was just watching HARDBALL with Chris Matthews and he was discussing whether or not music (specifically rap) causes people to commit crimes and i figured out something really interesting... a lot of his guest have NO IDEA about what they're talking about so i decided i wanted to hear what you guys all have to say about it... it's kind of an over done subject but worth debating about so let everyone know what you think
05-27-03, 04:14 PM
In the words of chris rock:
"What the f*** was in hitler's CD player?"
Well, while not saying I agree with the idea that music causes violence, what was in Hitler's "CD" (i.e. record) player was probably Wagnarian opera. Hitler loved Wagnar because he believed in, and wrote about German culteral superiority and power. In fact some people have noted that Wagnar (a vicious anti-semite and German nationalist) greatly influenced some of Hitlers rants about the superior German race. Which he said was descended from the heroic stock exemplified in German myth (which was what Wagnar wrote his music about).
So Hitler would definately not be a good example of violence not caused by music. :grin
05-29-03, 10:37 PM
Not an argument, just a question:
If music/images/sounds/expressive artifacts in general do NOT influence people into imitative or analogous behavior, then why do advertisers spend billions of dollars a year sending music/images/sounds/expressive artifacts into people's cars, living rooms, and even classrooms???
05-29-03, 11:30 PM
I have actually been in a funk about this very issue, oddly.
Basic stage setting: Our wedding. We are about to walk down the aisle, waiting for the string quartet to start, beginning with Puccini's "Intermezzo di Madama Butterfly", and my mother wonders (as the rabbi practically gasps) when they are going to play "Here comes the Bride".
"Mother!" her frantically and fiercely proud Jewish son exclaims, "That's by Wagner! How could you even think that we should play that! Hitler liked him!"
"Well, dear, the Nazis probably liked Bach, volkswagens, and beer, does that mean its all banned, too?" (FYI: We were married in Henry Ford's estate-- someone should catch the irony.)
In reality, as I soon discovered, it is indeed traditional that Wagner does not tend to be played at Jewish weddings, but more specifically to the point, noting that the Nazis and Hitler really got into only into Wagner and thus assuming the end of the argument is a huge misnomer. As I believe was noted in a description of the characters' lives that were featured in "Shindler's List," the violinists of the Reich featured more than just a passing minor infatuation. In reality, as more than a few musicians noted, after killing, it seemed that the Nazis liked music the most.
I wouldn't say that the music __caused__ any relation to the Reich. I would say that the overwhelming about of composers, the most common one being Wagner, shared something with Bach and Beethoven while Handel went lacking: Their "Germanness," that is, the music was simply a caveat for a fierce cultural pride that bordered on fanaticism; simply "if its German, its got to be good."
Realize that when looking at how Hitler used classical as opposed to Romantic as opposed to baroque music, each had their place and function, and the tinney, rousing, far too many damned crescendos of Wagner would work for the purposes of rousing the troops. But folk songs, ballads, even waltzes had their place in the Reich, and were also played to Hitler's sick conducting.
Thus, its a far deeper argument than: "Did wacko like Wagner?" Its more of when was Wagner used, why did this composer get pegged as distinctly German, why was Bach used but not to rattle the troops, and why did Handel get relegated to the "cool but not so cool--- too frou frou, too frilly, too.... English" category? Ironically, much of the same type of musicological/pscyhological questions must be posed of why was Tachovsky's 1812 overture, with its churning allusions to the slaughter of "La Marseillaise" (a clear allusion to Napoleon's defeat) likely to rouse the Russian troups more than Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No. 3?
So, thus, in short, does classical music affect the listener (note: I read of a study which found that if a person cries while listening to instrumental classical music, they are more than 98 percent likely to be male)? Quite possibly, but the cause/correlation equation must be filtered through a better understanding of the cultural exigiences that were at play in the performance of the music itself.
BTW: Beyond the whole Ride of the Valkeries thingee that has been so publicized, one often forgets that the piece is from 17-hour series der Ring des Nibelungen. Not only does the opera entail practically every great German/Saxon myth known to humankind, but it also represent a divine allusion of the German people, a definite bonus for Hitler's use, but interestingly, well, everyone dies in the end.
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