Making Marx in the Music: A HyperHistory of New Music and Politics

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Making Marx in the Music: A HyperHistory of New Music and Politics
Extensive article on music and politics, by Kyle Gann

“No one can doubt that music has a big role to play in the world of political protest. The controversial musicians we read about in the papers, though, are mostly from the pop and folk genres. It’s not only that those musicians are more visible, though that’s certainly true as well. Classical music and jazz seem to have a more long-term, measured, even sublimated approach to political protest, slower to react and more deeply embedded in the structure of the music itself.
When John Mellencamp writes a political song, he can use the same old chords and instruments he always uses; political classical composers often feel that the political intention entails a special style and strategy. When Billy Bragg is infuriated by an item in the paper, he can fire off a song that day. The classical and jazz worlds, however, generally have a longer turnaround time.”

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