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Audience Perception of Framed Music during Times of War
Unformatted Document Text:  Music During Times of War 17 increased focus on making a living and maintaining a job (Bennett, 1998). With much American focus on job security and earning enough money to support a family, citizens tend to isolate themselves from potential group members. This isolation is reflected in the music; people who spend their days fighting under American capitalism will find solace, comfort, and stability framed in music. Although the Americans may mourn the loss of fellow Americans through music, Americans preferred to surround themselves in messages of security/comfort and love found in music, rather than in patriotism. This finding which displays an increase in popular security/comfort music mirrors a study done in the weeks subsequent to the World Trade Center attack which indicated Americans were purchasing more “comfort foods”: soups, potatoes, etc (Callahan, 2001). In times of turbulence, people turn to music which frames escapism through feelings of security and comfort. Continuous soothing referrals – to security, comfort, safety, home, family, religion, prayer, and hope – seem to remind audience members of a time and place where they were safe and protected. In conclusion, Americans preferred popular music framed with messages in congruence with the American desire of the time. While people were civically engaged during World War II, the music framed patriotic themes, and people were receptive. However, during the current War on Terror, when people are removed from patriotism, music frames a security/comfort theme, and people are receptive. To the analysis of music six months prior to and after the attack, this study sheds light on how popular music selection changes in reaction to attacks on America. The linkage of these two events can serve as a signal of the importance of popular music in times of war. This study is only one aspect of the way in which popular culture can be analyzed as a venue for American audience need and preference both in times of war and in peacetime.

Authors: Graham, Erica.
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Music During Times of War 17
increased focus on making a living and maintaining a job (Bennett, 1998). With much American focus on
job security and earning enough money to support a family, citizens tend to isolate themselves from
potential group members. This isolation is reflected in the music; people who spend their days fighting
under American capitalism will find solace, comfort, and stability framed in music. Although the
Americans may mourn the loss of fellow Americans through music, Americans preferred to surround
themselves in messages of security/comfort and love found in music, rather than in patriotism.
This finding which displays an increase in popular security/comfort music mirrors a study done in
the weeks subsequent to the World Trade Center attack which indicated Americans were purchasing more
“comfort foods”: soups, potatoes, etc (Callahan, 2001). In times of turbulence, people turn to music
which frames escapism through feelings of security and comfort. Continuous soothing referrals – to
security, comfort, safety, home, family, religion, prayer, and hope – seem to remind audience members of
a time and place where they were safe and protected.
In conclusion, Americans preferred popular music framed with messages in congruence with the
American desire of the time. While people were civically engaged during World War II, the music
framed patriotic themes, and people were receptive. However, during the current War on Terror, when
people are removed from patriotism, music frames a security/comfort theme, and people are receptive.
To the analysis of music six months prior to and after the attack, this study sheds light on how popular
music selection changes in reaction to attacks on America. The linkage of these two events can serve as a
signal of the importance of popular music in times of war. This study is only one aspect of the way in
which popular culture can be analyzed as a venue for American audience need and preference both in
times of war and in peacetime.


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