Music of Civil Wars, Civil Rights Essay

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Music of Civil Wars, Civil Rights & Freedom Movements of Europe, Africa along with North and South America during the 20th Century

For millions of people, music is a way of being able to relate to different cultural traditions. As, it has served as form of: uniting, individuals from all walks of life behind various social meanings and causes. This is significant, because throughout history, music has often served as foundation of instilling feelings of nationalism and self-determination.

During the 20th century, this has become an important part of the culture for a number of different countries around the globe. As, they were using it to: illustrate a host of social causes and issues that they wanted to see addressed. Evidence of this can be seen with observations from White (2008) who wrote, "Economic and social issues are particularly evident in the music of the 1960's, 1970's, 1980's and the 1990's. Economics within the music can be investigated as an exciting social efficacy theme in the teaching and learning process." (White, 2008, pg. 43) This is significant, because it is showing how the music of the 20th century was a part of the larger social and cultural revolutions in many different areas of the world. To fully understand how this has occurred requires examining the way music influenced a variety of events ranging from: civil wars to social rebellions. This will be accomplished by looking at how the music influenced incidents in number of countries including: Spain, Ireland, South Africa, the U.S., Cuba, Chile, Argentina and Bolivia. Once this occurs, it will provide the greatest insights as to the way music influenced a variety of outcomes in these nations.

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TOPIC: Essay on Music of Civil Wars, Civil Rights & Assignment

During the 20th century, music would undergo a number of shifts. Part of the reason for this, is because the improvements in technology would have an impact on: how music was listened to and the way that it was performed. Some good examples of this can be seen with: the electric guitar, the accordion, the microphone and the electric keyboard just to name a few. At the same time, many of the song lyrics were often filled with ideas about various social, economic and political issues. This had an impact on how people were interpreting the meaning of the song. As, the use of technology created new ways to: record and play music to larger audiences. While various ideas, (such as: Communism) were infused in the lyrics to highlight the underlying them. This had an impact on the listener, as they were influenced by the music they were hearing. At which point, they began to support various causes that were similar to the ideas in the music. This is when some kind of dramatic shifts occurred, as the status quo could no longer ignore the demands of the people. Around the globe, these different elements played a role in determining the outcome for a variety of: social, economic and political situations during the 20th century. (Cook, 2004, pp. 18 -- 29)


In the 20th century, Spanish musicians were influenced by the various events that were occurring in the country at the time. This had an effect on the way the music was being written and performed. As, the objective of the artist was to influence the listener through: the performance and the message augmented together.

A good example of this can be seen with Generation 27 during the 1920's and into the 1930's. This was a group of artists, who came together to express their frustrations with the political situation in the country. A few of the most notable include: Jorge Guillian, Pedro Salinas, Federico Garcia and Gerardo Diego just to name a few. The way that this was accomplished was with: the freedom that these artists were given when they were composing various lyrics. This created a sense of empowerment for the listener, as they began to apply the freestyle thinking to: their daily lives. At which point, they would become frustrated with the current political and economic situation in the country. This helped to fuel support for the civil war (during the 1930's) against the monarchy, with the Franco regime becoming a way of hope for the people. As, they believed that the civil war was: a way they could be able to have their political, economic and social demands heard. (Marco, 1993, pp. 101 -- 128)

However, after Franco was able to achieve victory, is when he would consolidate his gains and formed an authoritarian government. This caused many of the different artists to flee or become victims of the violence. While at other times, artists were able to become a part of new regime and the culture it represents (Gerardo Diego). This is significant, because it shows how the artists used their freestyle of composition to create a form of medium that could speak to large audiences of people. As this is highlighting, how it would become a part of them during the civil war. Then, when Franco consolidated power is when a change occurred, with some artists continuing their work in exile. While others were allowed to do so, provided they followed various guidelines. This is illustrating how the music is a reflection of the changing political realities in Spain after the end of the civil war. (Marco, 1993, pp. 101 -- 128)


In the case of Ireland, their music was influenced by similar themes as in Spain. The only difference is: that it was often tied to Irish nationalism. As they wanted to see the British leave Ireland and have their own form of self-determination. This was accomplished, through the t use of Gallic sounds often involving: a fiddle, wooden flute, tin whistle and harp. This created a way of uniting the people behind the traditional forms of music (based upon: dancing and select ballads). During the early 20th century, this created a sense of nationalism among the Irish. This is important, because it is showing how the classic forms of music were used to unite the people against British rule. (Romer, 2011) (Randel, 2003, pp. 420 -- 422)

Later on in the 20th century, many Irish rockers began to use a similar theme, as the composers of the traditional folk music did during the early 1900's. The difference was that they were using technology and Rock N Roll to create a sense of nationalism among the Irish (about a host of different issues). (Romer, 2011) (Randel, 2003, pp. 420 -- 422)

This is significant, because the songs and the activism of the different artists created a sense of wanting to change the status quo. As a result, one could easily argue that changing views of the British public were because of the music these artists were composing. Where, this allowed people to see the struggles that many of the Irish were going through. Over the course of time, this would create a sense of sympathy and unity among the Irish. (Romer, 2011) (Randel, 2003, pp. 420 -- 422)

South Africa

In South Africa, the music was often used to reflect the different groups in society that were divided. As, each of the various genres would: borrow from one another and illustrate the challenges that various groups were facing under Apartheid.

A good example of this can be seen with Marbi during the 1920's. What happened was the government was severely restricting the movements of blacks after dark. This made it impossible for people to out to clubs and restaurants as a part of the traditional nightlife scene. At which point, many people began to play different songs using: a piano and pebble filled cans. During the 1930's, this form of music began to use some of the different instruments that were common in jazz including: guitars, banjos and trumpets. This is significant, because it is showing how the music was a form of resistance for many blacks inside South Africa. As, it was a way of: defying the restrictions that were placed upon them. While at the same time, it helped the people to express their feelings and frustrations. As a result, the music allowed many blacks to have a sense of culture and unity that bonded them in their struggle against these injustices. (Muller, 2004, pp. 1 -- 36)


In America, many other forms of music were often incorporated together to create a unique sound. This was used to highlight various injustices that were occurring, while being able to reach out to a wide variety of audiences. A good example of this can be seen with Rock N Roll. During the mid 20th century, this form of music became increasingly popular. As it was a way for people to express their frustrations with American society. At the same time, the use of technology was utilized to create a unique sound. These two elements created shaped the opinions of society on a host of issues ranging from: sex to the legalization… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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How to Cite "Music of Civil Wars, Civil Rights" Essay in a Bibliography:

APA Style

Music of Civil Wars, Civil Rights.  (2011, June 8).  Retrieved January 18, 2022, from

MLA Format

"Music of Civil Wars, Civil Rights."  8 June 2011.  Web.  18 January 2022. <>.

Chicago Style

"Music of Civil Wars, Civil Rights."  June 8, 2011.  Accessed January 18, 2022.