Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Music and Politics: What's the Connection?

Good evening! Are you watching the election returns? I am and I can't help thinking about all the music that has accompanied election campaigns and political campaigns of all kinds in the last few centuries. The first song that comes to mind for me is "Happy Days Are Here Again." This well-known song became the theme song for President Franklin Delano Roosevelt's 1932 inauguration - and was synonymous (with its upbeat tempo and cheerful lyrics) with the promised emergence from the Depression and Roosevelt's New Deal. There have been hundreds of other songs before and after this one, but on this important election night, I can't help but consider how important music is in setting the tone and the mood of a particular candidate, a particular race, or even a particular political party. A friend in another state is running for Secretary of Education. Imagine how much better her campaign is for using "School Days" behind television ads rather than "I Can't Get No Satisfaction."

What is it that creates the strong feelings? The lyrics, obviously but also the tempo and the rhythms; a strong march-like rhythm with strong lyrics gets most people involved and makes the words more memorable. Think of "The Battle Hymn of the Republic." That song has been sung for generations and will last for many, many more.

Music enhances and reinforces every human experience. Notice and be selective about what you include in your sonic environment. Music can heal and it can also wound. Give yourself the healthiest and most beautiful, uplifting music you can get.

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