Ep. 7 The Musical Politics of Belonging in 1917: A Conversation with Douglas Bomberger

 

Dr. Douglas Bomberger

In this episode, we discuss questions of belonging, boundaries, and the role of music in war as we examine the tumultuous year of 1917 that led America into World War I. Dr. Douglas Bomberger leads us in the study of four characters: Carl Muck, Ernestine Schuman-Heink, Fritz Kreisler, and the Original Dixieland Jazz Band. Through the lives of these characters, we study the role of the National Anthem in articulating belonging, traumas of war, exoticism, and whether music is an instrument of peace or a tool for war.

Keywords: 1917, belonging, national anthem, star spangled banner, Carl Muck, Fritz Kreisler, music history, jazz history

Dr. Douglas Bomberger is Professor of Musicology at Elizabethtown College. He has published six books and over 100 articles on subjects as diverse as the medieval origins of the keyboard mechanism and the ragtime-inspired compositions of Stravinsky and Hindemith. He has also edited 450 articles and written 40 articles as senior editor for nineteenth-century concert music for the New Grove Dictionary of American Music.  In 2019, he was the recipient of Elizabethtown College’s Ranck Prize for Research Excellence. We sat down to discuss the peacebuilding implications of his newest book, Making Music American: 1917 and the transformation of American Culture.

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Resources

Bomberger, E. D. (2019). Making music American: 1917 and the transformation of culture. New York: Oxford University Press.

Kreisler, F. (1917). Four weeks in the trenches: The war story of a violinist. New York: Houghton Mifflin Company. Retrieved from https://books.google.com/books

Yuval-Davis, N. (2011). The politics of belonging: Intersectional contestations. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

 

Discussion Questions

 

1. How do we articulate a politics of belonging through music?

2. When is music a force for peace or a tool for war? We often teach the positive aspects of music being a "universal language of connection." Should we also teach the darker side of music?

 

3. When does exoticism inform a musical curiosity? When is it harmful, objectifying and stereotyping the music of the Other? 

Transcript

D. Bomberger:       00:01          History is not static. It doesn't stand still, but sometimes it tumbles along so quickly that people are just swept along in its wake.

Shorner-Johnson:    00:11          You are listening to the music and peacebuilding podcast, a professional development network at music peacebuilding.com exploring intersections of peacebuilding, sacredness, community, creativity and imagination through research and story. Dr. Douglas Bomberger is professor of musicology at Elizabethtown college. He has published six books and over 100 articles on subjects as diverse as the medieval origins of the keyboard mechanism and the ragtime inspired compositions of Stravinsky and Hindemith. He has also edited 450 articles and written 40 articles as senior editor for 19th-century concert music for the new Grove Dictionary of American Music. In 2019 he was the recipient of Elizabethtown College's Ranck prize for research excellence. We sat down to discuss the peacebuilding implications of his newest book: Making Music American: 1917 and the Transformation of American Culture.

Shorner-Johnson:    01:19          Tell me about how you became interested in 1917 and why 1917 is an important year that should be studied.

D. Bomberger:       01:26          This is an unusual project for me in that I started out thinking about a narrative method and I found a topic later, so let me explain. I have long admired the works of Eric Larson and uh, Isabella Wilkerson and others who take several different stories, trace them simultaneously and then see how they come together at the end. And I always wanted to apply that method to a music history topic. After searching around, I realized that 1917 would be ideal because this was the year, not only that jazz was first introduced to the listening public through records. It was also the first year that, uh, German music was coming under heavy scrutiny because of world war one. And so these things came together in a way that I thought would be compelling. So that's what attracted me to 1917.

Shorner-Johnson:    02:25          Hmm. I love the way that that narrative method, I think it's one of the first times I've seen the narrative method really trace the side by side development of classical and jazz music. And it's interesting to see how much they don't intersect as well as where they do intersect. And that narrative method seems to work really well for that.

D. Bomberger:       02:43          Precisely. One of the aspects of music history in general is that traditionally it has been studied in separate spheres. And so jazz specialists specialized in jazz, rock specialists, specialize in rock, hip hop specialists know about hip hop and classical music specialists tend to focus on their areas, but the real world music doesn't happen that way. People listen to all kinds of music. And so the idea that you could hear completely different types of music on the same day walking on the streets of New York was a, an insight that I wanted to bring to people.

Shorner-Johnson:    03:27          Preview for us, why is 1917 important?

D. Bomberger:       03:30          1917 is really the turning point in the United States involvement in world war one. The war began in 1914 in Europe and uh, the, the different sides quickly lined up, uh, on the one side were Germany and Austria on the other side were France, England, and Russia. And those, uh, sides were deeply entrenched within a month of the start of the war in 1914, the United States remained officially neutral for the next three years and did its level best to stay out of the war. But in 1917, it became impossible, at least in the eyes of Congress and the president to stay out of the war. The, uh, German government increased its, uh, aggressive tactics, uh, among other things. Uh, it reinstigated submarine warfare in February and then, uh, with attacks against merchant ships and then also, uh, tried to, uh, arrange a secret treaty with Mexico to, uh, to sabotage the United States. So in light of that, the United States reluctantly got into the war. So that's the historical backdrop. What happened then was that because the United States had not been part of a major war since the Spanish American war in the late 19th century, there really was a lack of manpower, equipment, expertise and everything. So it took about seven months for American troops to reach the front lines. And during those seven months then, we can trace changing attitudes. As the government declares war, Americans reconciled themselves to the idea of going to war and then by November the country adopted a posture of total warfare.

Speaker 4:          05:24          [inaudible]

Shorner-Johnson:    05:26          dr Bomberger's book employees and narrative method similar to that of Isabel Wilkerson and Eric Larson. He uses it to follow the parallel lives of key characters. Carl Muck and Ernestine Schuman-Heink were prominent musicians who experienced identity and belonging differently based upon heritage, role and performance choices. The famous violinist Fritz Kreisler was already traumatized by war and in 1917 was searching for the universal within music and finally we look to the original Dixieland jazz band to study jazz sound as a frenzied American identity, and an exotic object. Each of these stories frames questions of: what does it mean to belong? How does music construct boundaries? Who is in and out? What does it mean to be exotic or different? Is music or force for peace or a tool for war? And, how rational are human beings? What is the power of emotion or falsehood? Let's enter these questions as we discussed the pivotal year 1917

Shorner-Johnson:    06:47          let's move into this. Maybe it's a philosophical question that all of these people in your book are examining this, this idea of what is music good for and attached to that question about is music. Is classical orchestral music a universal art form or is it a national art form? Well, let me read one quote from Fritz Kreisler at one point in your book I think page two 20 he says, "I will never stand for any inclusion of the national element in art. I would as quickly oppose any attempt in Vienna to agitate against French music. The higher art goes. The less it has to do with terrestrial things. It is like religion, philosophy. Music has no vehicle in which it is held down or confined in nationalities any more than religion is for one favorite people alone. So safe to say Fritz Kreisler and a few others are articulating this idea of the noble art form that rises above the nationhood.

D. Bomberger:       07:43          This is really the crux of the book and it really gets at the question of what music symbolizes. Is music something that is, uh, detached from other aspects of life and it is just simply a pure art form, or is it something that bears very strong emotional and national connotations? Uh, another musician who really had strong opinions on this topic was Walter Damrosch, the conductor of the New York Symphony. And, uh, at the New York Symphony's first performance in October, 1917, when the war frenzy was really starting to heat up, he expressed his views very, very clearly. And, uh, this is what he said about the idea of music as a universal art. He said "to me, it would seem unutterably wrong and ethically false to carry our righteous indignation against the German government to the point of excluding the great German masters to whom we as a people owe so much. How can we look upon Bach or Beethoven or Brahms as Prussians when they are great creative artists who have through their genius contributed to the development of the world and who no longer belonged only to the country in which they happen to have been born, but are part and parcel of the emotional and artistic life of the entire civilized world." So for him, the answer was very clear. And music is a universal cultural treasure that can be enjoyed by all people in all times and places. At this moment in history, though he was really in the minority and more and more of his fellow countrymen, uh, believed that music had very strong symbolic power. And so the idea of German music on American stages became almost overnight a, a real flashpoint for debate.

Shorner-Johnson:    09:39          And it's, I think it's a good context to remember that this point in time, based on reading the book, German music, uh, owns a significant part of the played repertoire of orchestras, American composers, are not really in the spotlight yet. There's a little bit of French, a little bit of Russian music, but if it felt like from reading the book that German music held a major part in the repertoire,

D. Bomberger:       10:02          you're absolutely right. And rightly or wrongly, uh, the, uh, German composers had really dominated, uh, European and, uh, American concert stages, uh, from about 1750 through 1917. And so the, uh, the Germans, uh, were rightly proud of all their composers who had been born and trained in Germany who went on to fame and glory. Uh, on the other hand, uh, there was this, uh, this feeling that the music was a universal cultural treasure. And so it really is a dilemma and a debate. Is it a national point of pride or is it a universal cosmopolitan treasure? And this was the debate that was raging in the fall of 1917.

Shorner-Johnson:    10:52          And I may be reading too much into it here, but I, I seem to sense that when people would say that it's a universal cosmopolitan treasure, that there is a hidden belief in the beginning of 1917 that this universal treasure would help to mitigate the tensions of, of nations because there is already this bond that exists that might prevent war. Is that safe to say?

D. Bomberger:       11:19          This was the idea of espoused by Fritz Kreisler especially, and he articulated it better than anyone else. He said, after this war is over, that's when music will bring people back together again. And he said, we may be going crazy now, but when the war is over, people will return to music as a source of unity as a pacification rather than as a war-like element.

Speaker 5:          11:49          [inaudible]

Shorner-Johnson:    11:54          Fritz Kreisler wrote about the trauma of war as a front-line soldier. In Kreisler's book, He described a frenzy of nationalism and national anthems as preparation for war. He reflected one day we were all ordinary civilized men. Two or three days later, our culture had dropped aside like a cloak and we were brutal and primeval." The first death he experienced as a soldier held memory, "a soldier of my platoon while digging in the trench suddenly leaned back, began to cough like an old man, a little blood broke from his lips and he crumpled together in a heap and lay quite still. The man had been a favorite with all his fellows by reason of his good humor and that he was now stretched out dead. Seemed unbelievable. I saw a great many men die afterwards, some suffering horribly, but I do not recall any death that affected me quite so much as that of my first victim in my platoon. War, for Kreisler, is trauma

Speaker 6:          13:18          [inaudible],

Shorner-Johnson:    13:26          Bomberger quotes Kreisler In 1917. "I will never stand for any inclusion of the national element in art. I would As quickly oppose any attempt in Vienna to agitate against French music. The higher art goes, the less it has to do with terrestrial things. It is like religion and philosophy. Music has no vehicle in which it is held down and confined to nationalities anymore than religion is for one favored people alone. In a different way, The singer, Ernestine Schuman-Heink, experienced the anxiety and the horror of war through motherhood with five sons in the military on both sides of the war.

Speaker 6:          14:13          [Singing Danny Boy]

Shorner-Johnson:    14:52          Where do our loyalties lie and how does a national Anthem construct a sense of belonging. In the introduction of the politics of belonging. You've all Davis writes, the emotional components of people's constructions and identities become more central. The more threatened and less secure they become. Such arousal can lead to violence. To what extent does a national Anthem construct a sense of who we are? How does an Anthem construct stories about who belongs and who doesn't? [music] Who gets to play the Anthem? How should it be played? Is the Anthem rebellion or steadfast strength?

Speaker 5:          15:50          [music]

Shorner-Johnson:    15:55          hope for change or constancy?

Speaker 5:          15:59          [National Anthem]

Shorner-Johnson:    16:08          can it be sung like this? [National Anthem] Or changed to four/four time in post 9/11 [inaudible]

Speaker 5:          16:33          [inaudible]

Speaker 7:          16:33          1917 begins as universal connection through music. Let's follow the fast-paced story of this fascinating year.

Shorner-Johnson:    16:40          So then things change. I love this quote that you have from, from William w star Myers of Princeton. And he says, "to my sense of things, the star Spangled banner is good music. It expresses one of the noblest of human emotions, patriotism. And I feel that it is a higher emotion than any that may be expressed in the ninth symphony of Beethoven." Ouch.

D. Bomberger:       17:03          Yes. That's the kind of statement that could only happen under the influence of war frenzy because a, he is claiming that, uh, that loyalty to your country is more valuable than love of mankind in general. And, uh, that's an idea that of course is promoted during a war, but, uh, but really is a dangerous idea in so many ways. And, and to hear a Princeton professor making a sweeping change like that, uh, is a, is disheartening to say the least.

Speaker 8:          17:42          [inaudible]

Shorner-Johnson:    17:44          We've been skirting around the, the idea of the National Anthem. So let's start to dig into the story of the National Anthem. Um, first of all, I want to read my favorite quote from you, from Teddy Roosevelt and then talk about Providence Rhode Island here in a second. But, but in 1915, Teddy Roosevelt stated, and I had no idea he'd stated something, uh, maybe, uh, this offensive to me and maybe in some ways, "there is no room in this country for hyphenated Americans. When I refer to hyphenated Americans, I do not refer to naturalized Americans. Some of the very best Americans I've ever known were naturalized Americans born abroad, but a hyphenated American is not an American at all." Um, so there's obviously already a lot of rhetoric about who belongs and who doesn't belong in the United States.

D. Bomberger:       18:32          This is part of our country's history, from the very beginning and the idea of who really belongs in a nation that is in large part a nation of immigrants. Many people in the country are newly arrived immigrants or the descendants of immigrants. It's so much a part of the fabric of the United States. But a recurring theme in American history is the idea that descendants of older immigrants are very eager to put up barriers for new immigrants. And we see this today, we see it in the 1920s and we see it in 1917, and the, the crux of the issue was that at this time there were at least 9 million Americans in the United States who, uh, self-identified as German Americans who were either recently arrived German immigrants or the descendants of Germans. And so when the United States went to war with Germany, the question became, how do we know which of these millions of German-Americans is loyal?

D. Bomberger:       19:50          How do we know which ones might be a threat to national security? And so there was an, uh, atmosphere of suspicion that arose at this time. And one of the ways in which people created a litmus test for the time period was through the Star Spangled banner. And so there arose almost overnight new traditions surrounding this Anthem. It was not yet the official National Anthem of the United States. That would not happen until 1931. But, um, what was happening at this time though was that there were unspoken expectations and one of those was that people would stand up when the National Anthem was played. And uh, so this had not been a thing before this time, but in the lead up to the war, all of a sudden people were expected to leap to their feet whenever the star Spangled banner was played. Now one of the humorous is suppose a jazz band in a cabaret plays the Star Spangled banner. Do we still have to leave to our feet? Suppose a, the star Spangled banner appears just as a melody in a, uh, in a play, for instance, uh, David Belasko's, Madame butterfly, do we still have to leap to our feet? A, some people felt very strongly that that was a way to test others loyalty. And so it became a litmus test at this time.

Shorner-Johnson:    21:15          So Carl Muck is, is officially a Swiss conductor. Am I correct? Even though he is often labeled as, as German or Austrian as, as tensions escalate. And that's going to be really important.

D. Bomberger:       21:28          The identity question is really a fraught in his case because he was born in Darmstadt, Germany and he was the most famous conductor of German music and had worked for a time in Berlin for the Kaiser. But on the other hand, his father and the whole family had been naturalized Swiss for most of their lives. And so he was a Swiss citizen, but he had German loyalties. So the question then became, how do we know if we can trust this guy? Is he in his concerts undermining what the United States is trying to achieve in unity and loyalty? Uh, and uh, and so he was scrutinized very heavily as perhaps the most famous conductor in the United States and the conductor of the Boston symphony orchestra.

Shorner-Johnson:    22:27          So what happens in Providence, Rhode Island and why does it matter?

D. Bomberger:       22:31          Yes, this is a key point and it's fascinating to me as a historian to see how sometimes accidental events can take on outsized importance. Uh, the basic story was this, uh, that, uh, the concert season for classical music typically starts in the fall and goes through the following spring. And so there had been a whole summer of vacation from May through October when the orchestras of the United States were silent. Uh, the first orchestras to start their seasons were the New York orchestras and both the New York symphony and the New York Philharmonic, uh, played the star Spangled banner on their first concerts. This was new in the fall of 1917. This would had not been a habit before this time, but they decided to try it. And the New York audiences felt it was appropriate to do. In Boston they had never played the National Anthem and apparently it never even occurred to them that it would be a good idea to do this. And so they, uh, they were not about to add a piece of popular music to, their very serious artistic concerts. So this was the situation in the fall of 1917. What happened was that the Boston Symphony had a run-out performance to Providence, Rhode Island. Uh, their home base was in symphony hall in Boston, but they had an invitation to play an hour away in Providence. Um, Providence happened to be the place where one of the most rabid spy hunters in the country was the editor of the local newspaper. And so, uh, John Ratham, who was an Australian immigrant, uh, was constantly on the lookout for possible subversion by enemy aliens. And so he, uh, instigated it now appears several local musical clubs to send a telegram to the Boston Symphony management on the afternoon of their Tuesday performance, uh, and to demand that they play the, uh, uh, to play the, uh, the National Anthem that evening.

D. Bomberger:       24:47          Uh, Ratham also published the demand on the first page of the Providence paper. And, uh, but it came at the very last minute. And so, uh, the Boston Symphony management looked at this telegram didn't recognize any of the names who had signed it, and they decided to ignore it. That turned out to be a very crucial decision because what happened was when the symphony played that evening without the National Anthem, it gave the editor the opportunity to trumpet to the whole world, and that Muck was being subversive and that he was anti-American and that he was intentionally, uh, undermining American values. This story caught on like wildfire. It, uh, it went viral. And, uh, it's surprising that, uh, in the days long before the Internet, uh, this, uh, this story made it to the opposite coast. It was published on the front page of the Los Angeles Times, uh, two days later. And a really was a very, very big story. And, uh, what happened was that no matter how hard the symphony tried to tamp this down, they reminded listeners that, uh, Carl Muck had never even been asked his opinion. They reminded listeners that, that, uh, they, uh, were not trying to be unpatriotic. Uh, despite all of that, the story just kept growing and growing and growing. And so in this case, the National Anthem became a symbol of nationalism, patriotism, and a way to root out unpatriotic Americans.

Speaker 8:          26:35          [inaudible].

Shorner-Johnson:    26:37          And then this leads to a really important history too, which is a history of falsehoods. And I believe I was talking to you about this before that oftentimes we maybe overestimate the degree to which we are rational human beings and forget that oftentimes falsehoods take root within ourselves and it affects our actions. And you even go on to to document some of the, some of the, some of the spy records that were recorded upon musicians as falsehoods started to seep in. Could you talk about some of the spy records, especially with like Seal Island and what, what happens there?

D. Bomberger:       27:15          Yes. One of the things that is often attributed to Mark Twain is, uh, the saying that a lie can go halfway around the world before the truth can get its boots on. And, uh, it turns out that, um, there's no evidence that Mark Twain actually said that. So one more illustration of the way a falsehood can go around, but, uh, but the point is this, that when a lie becomes a, an idea in someone's mind, it's very hard to dislodge that. And so a, and so in a heightened atmosphere of war intensity, there really was no good way to tamp down rumors and false hoods. And so once they start to spread, there's no stopping them. And uh, on they go. Uh, and the, uh, the idea of rational argument, the idea of exposing lies, uh, although it seemed like a good idea, uh, was singularly ineffective in combating the intensity of the, uh, of the emotions. Now this brings us then to the issue of propaganda. One of the articles that I'm working on as a spin off to this book is having to do with a very small, obscure magazine in New York that was instrumental in spreading these falsehoods. Uh, the name of this magazine was the Chronicle. And, uh, it took me a great deal of effort to dig up copies of this journal and find out what was going on with it. But what happened was that the, uh, that both the military intelligence division and the predecessor of the FBI were investigating the editor of this journal for, uh, for illegal business practices. And so he was a shady character to start with. But what he did was to spread a lot of lies about German Americans and to promote the idea that Americans needed to be on the lookout for spies.

Speaker 5:          29:20          [inaudible]

D. Bomberger:       29:20          So this idea of falsehoods, it was also part of the British propaganda strategy. And a, one of the things that I've discovered in reading about this era is that the modern science of propaganda really had its beginnings at this time. And, uh, the British were the first to really capitalize on propaganda. They recognize that the German strategy of presenting lectures and pamphlets explaining the German position in rational, logical terms was not as effective as spreading a whisper campaign about their enemies. And so the British were unusually adept at making up falsehoods about, for instance, German atrocities, and then spreading them through America to make Americans believe that the Germans were even worse than they were on the battlefield. And so it became a sort of a dirty campaign to support the war. And the British were unusually effective at this.

Shorner-Johnson:    30:32          And it's amazing to see how fast, um, society turns against Carl Muck as maybe some falsehoods start to start to spread. I was fascinated by this, this kind of lock him up, quote from, from Maryland governor Edwin Warfield. And he basically says, um, men like Muck who do not realize their obligation, which is their obligation to play the National Anthem and to their adopted country should be interned. Um, so it moves very quickly from...

D. Bomberger:       31:03          It does. Yes. There were lots of calls to throw him into jail, basically a with or without evidence. And eventually, he was interned. He was jailed in March of 1918. Uh, and, uh, to their credit, the intelligence agencies were very methodical and careful in putting together their case. But, uh, the public outcry was so strong that many otherwise reasonable politicians, uh, said that it would be best to just throw them in jail and find the facts later.

Speaker 9:          31:36          [Quick Step Music from Original Dixieland Jass Band]

Speaker 7:          31:51          so let's talk about jazz now, um, 1917, is a momentous year for jazz. And I think it's important for our listeners to know that we're talking about almost the invention of the word jazz in this book.

D. Bomberger:       32:06          Exactly, yes. The early history of jazz is really steeped in mystery and we know that the most important performers of early jazz came from new Orleans. We know many of the people that they played with and we know the events that they played with, but since there were no recordings of early jazz, we really can't be sure what it sounded like and when, what we now think of jazz was first played that way. Uh, what we do know though is when the term jazz first started appearing in print and it began interestingly enough as a sports term, it shows up in the baseball pages of several California newspapers in 1912 and 1913 eventually. Then it's also used as a musical term in Chicago in 1915, but the whole idea of jazz as a musical style was still extremely new at this point. And so no one really had a sense of what it was.

D. Bomberger:       33:07          And, uh, it was very popular in Chicago and there was a New York, uh, agent and enterprising agent who had heard from Al Jolson that this new music was really the thing of the future. And so he wanted to get a band in New York, so he managed to, uh, entice one of the Chicago bands to come to New York. And this then is where the story really goes national when this band, first of all, has a very successful engagement at a major restaurant and then is recorded. And that record then becomes the first million selling jazz record in the spring.

Speaker 9:          33:44          [Original Dixieland Jazz Band One-step]

Shorner-Johnson:    34:16          And tell us about why does jazz become a national phenomenon through recording technology maybe before recording technology latches onto symphony orchestras?

D. Bomberger:       34:27          Yes. Uh, this was a time period when that historians describe as the acoustic period in recording. In other words, the electronic microphone like you and I are using today, was not introduced until 1925. So at this point then the process was purely acoustical. Sound waves were collected in a large tube focused down into a stylist, which cut grooves into a revolving, a disc of, of a wax. And that then was how the records were made. So it was a very delicate operation. And to their credit, the engineers at the Victor talking machine company really put a lot of effort into making sure that the different instruments of the Original Dixieland Jazz Band were spaced out in the studio to make it sound with an optimal balance. So for instance, the piano, which didn't pick up very well was right beside the horn. The drums, which were way too loud, were across the room 25 feet away and the trumpet was 20 feet away. The trombone was 15 feet away and so on. They found the exact right distance and this created then a record that really sounded good despite the limitations of the technology

Speaker 5:          35:47          [Original Dixieland Jazz Band]

D. Bomberger:       35:59          But the other aspect though is that novelty of this new sound, it was not vocal music as most popular records were at the time. But instead it was purely instrumental music designed for dancing and a, what commentators said at the time was that in this period of anxiety surrounding the war, people needed an emotional release and jazz was just loopy enough. It was frantic enough, it was new and crazy enough that people latched onto it and whether it would have been this popular at another time, is hard to say, but we do know that that very first jazz instrumental record swept the country. It took the country by storm and people were dancing to this music from Iowa to Oregon to New York

Speaker 5:          36:52          [Music]

Shorner-Johnson:    36:57          The things that I find very interesting an ethnomusicology lens maybe is this notion of exoticism and on one hand exoticism can be a good thing because it can inspire curiosity in a new art form and there's definitely curiosity that picks up. But I'm also interested in how there's a dark side to exoticism too because exoticism can be turned into an object or a thing. You can dehumanize a group of people to say, look at these, these - this weird, this new exotic de-humanize object. And I, I definitely pick that up from the book about the way that people wrote about jazz and maybe their carelessness in deciding how they would spell jazz and how they would respect performers. Can you talk a little bit about that?

D. Bomberger:       37:42          Yes, absolutely. Part of the fascination with jazz was its chaotic, dangerous quality. It was associated strongly with African American culture. For one thing, it was also music that seemed uncontrolled in comparison to the symphony music that people were used to listening to. And so it was music that had an element of danger and an element of excitement to it. Uh, so that was part of the appeal. Um, but on the other hand, as you say, there is a kind of a marginalization that happens. And so the question is how wild is too wild? How wild is just right? Uh, the original Dixieland jazz band hit the sweet spot because their music sounded exciting and bold and new, but on the other hand, they dressed in tuxedos and they were all, uh, Caucasian performers. And so it was not as dangerous as it might have been if, uh, the first recording artists had been, for instance, one of the many African American groups that were also performing at this time. So there is a sense in which exoticism was attractive but also could be a marginalizing element as well.

Shorner-Johnson:    39:05          Hmm. I love some of the lies that you captured of jazz artists portraying themselves as not being able to read music when in fact they could read music. And the way that you articulated that this was another way of articulating what being American was in opposition to the refined nature of German sound and note reading. And that contrast there,

D. Bomberger:       39:25          this is one of the ideas that I pushed out in the book that is a new idea and that is the idea that jazz symbolized in one regard, at least the aspects that Europeans came to love and eventually respect about Americans. And that is that they are unconventional, that they're different and that they're sometimes a little bit out of control. And so, uh, as a contrast, you could hardly ask for a greater difference than between the super refined sounds of the Boston symphony orchestra and the frenetic, chaotic sound of the original Dixieland jazz band. And that contrast to me was one of the most fascinating aspects of 1917.

Shorner-Johnson:    40:26          1917 was a year of great speed, a speed to identify in-groups and out-groups as preparation for conflict. Music can be used for violence, to erect barriers and define who belongs and who does not. Music can also express that most human of human needs, attachment and belonging. As I think about the work of social emotional learning in schools, our work with anti-bullying is the work of belonging, identity, empathy and compassion. How do we sound belonging and identity while singing to universal connection?

Shorner-Johnson:    41:17          This is the music and peacebuilding podcast. At Elizabethtown college, we host a master of music education with an emphasis in peacebuilding and world music drumming thinking deeply, we reclaimed space for connection and care. Join us at musicpeacebuilding.com as we work to build our community, we welcome your help in reviewing us on iTunes. If you do post a review, please go to musicpeacebuilding.com slash review to have a thank you card, laptop sticker, and classroom poster sent your way as our way of saying thank you for your support.

Speaker 9:          42:03          [inaudible].

 

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Dr. Kevin Shorner-Johnson

Music & Peacebuilding

Elizabethtown College

1 Alpha Dr.

Elizabethtown, PA 17022

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