Music and the American Society (During the 20th Century)

Topics: Blues, Protest song, United States Pages: 3 (1105 words) Published: January 9, 2011
Music is the most powerful form of human expression. It has been a way for man to express himself since the dawn of ages through the embodiment of love, disapproval, happiness and experience through melodies and words. During the twentieth century music has been a major factor in the American society that helped change the course of history by stimulating the masses to “get up and stand up for their rights” as the reggae legend Bob Marley once said. Thus music has helped the American culture to achieve the abolishment of slavery, the establishment of civil rights, women’s rights and helped the Americans throughout the wars. First we can say that music has always been a way for people to protest and criticise the injustice and sorrow. And we can relate this function to the introduction of the protest song in the early 20th century with the birth of the IWW (industrial workers of the world) which goal was to promote worker solidarity in the revolutionary struggle to overthrow the employing class and used music as a powerful form of protest. Thus this movement encouraged the emergence of blues musicians which had started this kind of music after the Emancipation Act of 1863, a period that coincides with Emancipation and, later, the development of juke joints as places where Black people went to listen to music, dance, or gamble after a hard day's work. Furthermore blues music criticised the racial barrier between black and white people but remained only reserved for black listeners. And with arrival of the First World War came the first forms of anti war songs against the U.S.A.'s decision to enter the European war, like “I Didn’t Raise My Boy to Be a Soldier,” (1915) by lyricist Alfred Bryan , thus music became a major factor in the anti war movement that had been born in the period which influenced the public at the time. And though music began to emerge in the first quarter of the 20th century as a major political and social influence it soon took a major role...
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