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Audience Perception of Framed Music during Times of War
Unformatted Document Text:  Music During Times of War 3 American music preference. Can a song convey to an audience a sense of patriotism? Or can it emphasize a need for security and protection? As early as World War II, music executives ensured that music was able to effectively “stimulate powerful memories of life” (Kenney, 1999, p. 197); music can have a powerful effect in the listener’s mind, as he or she finds an individual connection to and interpretation of the message conveyed. In his work, William Kenney Howard explores how the United States was able to win the war through specific efforts aimed at music selection; he described instances in which the phonograph conveyed news, music, and patriotic messages (Kenney, 1999). In fact, once the United States entered World War II, “retail dealers were urged to dig out of their inventories the ‘glorious songs of faith and inspiration that nerved our forefathers’” (Kenney, 1999, p. 194). Through this action, the United States government acknowledged music as an effective method of political communication, and an essential tool to mobilize an American war effort. Likewise, music has played a similar role in the months surrounding September 11 th and the War on Terror. Many songs, such as “How You Remind Me,” receiving some radio play prior to September 11 th became popular after the attack. In another view, these songs could have peaked because people identified with certain themes, and these songs with patriotic messages or applicable themes became popular because of these themes. This view, however, is not held by all. Among other scholars, Dick Weissman (1982) notes that music may not entirely have a place within political communication because the audience may become so wrapped up within the tune or melody of a song, that they may not truly decipher the song’s message through the words (Weissman, 1982). While this may be true to some extent, the popular music repetition of themes within popular songs affords more opportunities for the listening public to be exposed to the themes framed into the songs. Lastly, some opponents may argue that popular music is not entirely an accurate measure of what people want to hear. Some music critics claim that the music which is played on popular radio stations, and those songs which appear on the top playlists, are merely those songs selected by the recording

Authors: Graham, Erica.
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Music During Times of War 3
American music preference. Can a song convey to an audience a sense of patriotism? Or can it
emphasize a need for security and protection?
As early as World War II, music executives ensured that music was able to effectively “stimulate
powerful memories of life” (Kenney, 1999, p. 197); music can have a powerful effect in the listener’s
mind, as he or she finds an individual connection to and interpretation of the message conveyed. In his
work, William Kenney Howard explores how the United States was able to win the war through specific
efforts aimed at music selection; he described instances in which the phonograph conveyed news, music,
and patriotic messages (Kenney, 1999). In fact, once the United States entered World War II, “retail
dealers were urged to dig out of their inventories the ‘glorious songs of faith and inspiration that nerved
our forefathers’” (Kenney, 1999, p. 194). Through this action, the United States government
acknowledged music as an effective method of political communication, and an essential tool to mobilize
an American war effort.
Likewise, music has played a similar role in the months surrounding September 11
th
and the War
on Terror. Many songs, such as “How You Remind Me,” receiving some radio play prior to September
11
th
became popular after the attack. In another view, these songs could have peaked because people
identified with certain themes, and these songs with patriotic messages or applicable themes became
popular because of these themes.
This view, however, is not held by all. Among other scholars, Dick Weissman (1982) notes that
music may not entirely have a place within political communication because the audience may become so
wrapped up within the tune or melody of a song, that they may not truly decipher the song’s message
through the words (Weissman, 1982). While this may be true to some extent, the popular music
repetition of themes within popular songs affords more opportunities for the listening public to be
exposed to the themes framed into the songs.
Lastly, some opponents may argue that popular music is not entirely an accurate measure of what
people want to hear. Some music critics claim that the music which is played on popular radio stations,
and those songs which appear on the top playlists, are merely those songs selected by the recording


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