Lest We Forget

November 11, 2013

Today, we celebrate Remembrance Day and I got thinking! What would have been like for musicians under Hitler? Did they control music like everything else? I remember learning in music...

Today, we celebrate Remembrance Day and I got thinking! What would have been like for musicians under Hitler? Did they control music like everything else?

I remember learning in music history that Richard Strauss that although he was first director of the Propaganda Ministry’s music division, he did so because he was afraid of Hitler (Strauss’s daughter-in-law was Jewish). Strauss also got out of the position as quickly as possible.

I also remember reading that Hilter had a list of people of he planed on executing when he took over the world — Glenn Miller was on it. Why would a big band leader be on a list?

But then I found this interesting article online about the rules that jazz musicians had to follow. I wouldn’t know how to compose anything under such rules. I’m guessing composers didn’t compose much under Nazi control. These rule literally make no sense and are just plain stupid. These very rules go against jazz!

1 Pieces in foxtrot rhythm (so-called swing) are not to exceed 20% of the repertoires of light orchestras and dance bands;
2 in this so-called jazz type repertoire, preference is to be given to compositions in a major key and to lyrics expressing joy in life rather than Jewishly gloomy lyrics;
3 As to tempo, preference is also to be given to brisk compositions over slow ones so-called blues); however, the pace must not exceed a certain degree of allegro, commensurate with the Aryan sense of discipline and moderation. On no account will Negroid excesses in tempo (so-called hot jazz) or in solo performances (so-called breaks) be tolerated;
4 so-called jazz compositions may contain at most 10% syncopation; the remainder must consist of a natural legato movement devoid of the hysterical rhythmic reverses characteristic of the barbarian races and conductive to dark instincts alien to the German people (so-called riffs);
5 strictly prohibited is the use of instruments alien to the German spirit (so-called cowbells, flexatone, brushes, etc.) as well as all mutes which turn the noble sound of wind and brass instruments into a Jewish-Freemasonic yowl (so-called wa-wa, hat, etc.);

6 also prohibited are so-called drum breaks longer than half a bar in four-quarter beat (except in stylized military marches);
7 the double bass must be played solely with the bow in so-called jazz compositions;
8 plucking of the strings is prohibited, since it is damaging to the instrument and detrimental to Aryan musicality; if a so-called pizzicato effect is absolutely desirable for the character of the composition, strict care must be taken lest the string be allowed to patter on the sordine, which is henceforth forbidden;
9 musicians are likewise forbidden to make vocal improvisations (so-called scat);
10 all light orchestras and dance bands are advised to restrict the use of saxophones of all keys and to substitute for them the violin-cello, the viola or possibly a suitable folk instrument.

(http://boingboing.net/2012/03/10/nazi-rules-for-jazz-performers.html)

Music has an amazing power to influence and change the world. Hitler had every right to be afraid of musicians questioning.

We have so much freedom in Canada, something we take for granted.

ImageLest we forget!

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