Ethical Uses of Patriotic Music

At the upcoming meeting of the Royal Musical Association’s Music and Philosophy Study Group (King’s College, London, July 20-21, 2012) I will present a paper entitled "On the Ethical Dimensions of Patriotic Music". Below is a summary of the paper presentation. 

Click here for more information on the RMA Music and Philosophy conference:

Individual Paper Presentation, Second Annual Conference of the Royal Musical Association Music and Philosophy Study Group; King’s College, London (July 19-21, 2012).

On the Ethical Dimensions of Patriotic Music

In this paper presentation, I offer critical discussion of ethical issues associated with how patriotic music is used as ideological indoctrination to ensure the sustainability of geographically-defined allegiances in contemporary industrialized societies. While it is widely regarded as naïve and disrespectful for young people to question the legitimacy and enduring importance of both aural and visual patriotic symbols, it cannot be denied that patriotic music is frequently used to inculcate ideologies largely based on selective remembrances that verge on the mythological, and it thereby plays a prominent role in forms of propaganda that enable militarism to flourish even in the 21st century. Although musical sounds may lack the power to directly manipulate behaviors, it is clear that patriotic music is often effectively harnessed by those who seek to inspire in others the willingness to fight in unnecessary wars. This raises an important question that has yet received scant attention in music philosophy: At what point do the uses of patriotic music become ethically suspect? To what extent should patriotic music be welcomed in the public sector, and how far should musicians and music educators bow toward pressures to increasingly create, perform, and teach patriotic music during wartime and other periods of national unrest? While honoring arguments that advocate the need to respectfully memorialize victims of war and preserve cultural heritage, my critique produces a reasoned normative position regarding limited public uses of patriotic music.

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Jazz in Bergen, April 2012

I have a few gigs as a vocalist and trumpeter in Bergen, Norway at the end of April, and will plan to post more details here soon, including precise times, directions, links, and posters.

-On Sunday, April 22 (starting at 2pm) I sing a vocal solo part for the Duke Ellington Sacred Concert, which will be performed with a full jazz band and choir at Korskirken, a medieval cathedral in the city center. Click HERE for a poster.

Here are links to two pages from the Ellington concert program:

-On Thursday evening, April 26 (9pm to midnight) I have a gig as a bandleader for which I will perform original songs and jazz standards on trumpet and voice. It will be at The Lounge, in the city center, on Kaigaten just across the pond from Grieg Hall. The evening will open with an a cappella vocal quartet [Silje Valde Onsrud (soprano), Anne Kristine Wallace Turøy (alto), Tine Grieg Viig (contralto), Egil Haugland (tenor), and David Hebert (bass)]. This will be followed by two sets of solo trumpet and voice with keyboard (Øystein Kvinge), bass (Sigurd Ulveseth), and drums (Jan Tore Ness). We will also be joined by other special guest instrumentalists. Click HERE for a poster.

-Additionally, nine of my trumpet students are giving a recital on that same week at the Grieg Academy, Bergen University College (Landås). It is on Tuesday evening, April 24th. Click
HERE to access a poster for that event.