While reading through chapter six, I became very interested with the constant infatuation with Roxane Coss’s voice. You would think after such hype of her voice for so long and now hearing her sing on a regular basis, three hours everyday sometimes more, it would become the norm. That Ms. Coss would no longer be an impressive flavor in the listener’s ears. That however has not been the case. The hostages and the “terrorists” have become more enveloped day by day in her voice. The part the really caught my attention was when the General Hector said, “We will make her sing more…”We will tell her what to sing as well.” The Generals believed that Roxane was putting on a daily concert for the outsiders lined up around the perimeter of the home. “A gift to the people, a diversion to the military. They had kidnapped her for a reason, after all.” This really caught my attention the power music has. I wanted to research the authority music has to persuade.
I started my research by looking into the way our brain is wired for music. How does the psychology of music effect our perception? From Music and the Mind, “Music has the effect of intensifying or underlining the emotion which a particular event calls forth, by simultaneously coordinating the emotions of a group of people” (Storr 24). This statement already begins to show how our deep connection to music can form how we feel about certain events or groups depending on the music they play or enjoy. Generally, music increases arousal such as, alertness, awareness and excitement (Storr 24). This arousal can cause your pupils to dilate as well as, heighten blood pressure and heart rate (Storr 25). These are involuntary effects that give us knowledge as to how music taps into our deeper sub-conscious.
Since studies have shown music to control our sub-conscious I began to question how music has been used persuade communities, groups of people or entire countries. Lullabies are one of the most universal forms of music, and found in all cultures (Hargreaves 124). Lullabies are an example of how music can be used for a positive purpose. They have a slow tempo that causes a soothing effect causing the child to calm down or fall asleep. This form of music proves that even as young children we are involuntarily affected through sound. Music used at ceremonies and festivals create the atmosphere and set the “mood” for the crowd. Music is used across all cultures to induce emotions. Drumbeats may create a mood of mourning for the death of a chief or a sense of pageant for the installation of a new ruler (Hargreaves 129).
Lullabies, ceremonies and festival are blissful reasons music was used to persuade. I wanted to research the adverse to these reason and see when music was used as a negative or as propaganda to support unjust motives. Hitler is a prime example as to how music can be used to change perspectives. Hitler was effective because he pulled on emotions of the people. The music he played at events promoted the same emotional response as the banners he had made and the words he spoke. He pushed for arousal of his audience and making them experience the same over and over again (Storr 47). The Nazis exercised complete control over the Bund Deutscher Mädel and the Hitlerjugend—youth groups in which participation was compulsory for young girls and boys, respectively, after 1939 (Perris 74). The Nazi’s create a songbook the youth would sing and a major portion of the HJ/BDM’s song material was adapted from preexisting sources. The medleys and ideas hidden within the songs were along slide Nazi propaganda songs. Hitler used music to psychologically imprint on the younger generation. In addition to playing NS games simulating plane attacks and war games, songs glorifying Hitler, and war songs were performed (Perris 75). Hitler used repetition and music to engender the youth with his beliefs and ideals.
Through my research I have begun to understand how music can affect our judgment. Taking a deeper look into historical events and the role music plays in our society I can conclude that music plays a large part in our personal values and ideas. I begin to question how many other ways has music been used as propaganda. Since music has proved to create involuntary emotion I also consider how or if music is being used in the modern day industry. Another avenue for further research could be the role music plays in the effectiveness of political campaigns or the government. I found this to be a rich topic with many possibilities of where I could take it.
Hargreaves, David J. The Social Psychology of Music. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1997. Print.
Perris, Arnold. Music as Propaganda: Art to Persuade, Art to Control. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood, 1985. Print.
Randall, Annie Janeiro. Music, Power, and Politics. New York: Routledge, 2005. Print.
Storr, Anthony. Music and the Mind. New York: Free, 1992. Print.