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A National Acoustics: Music and Mass Publicity in Weimar and Nazi Germany

Copyright Date: 2006
Edition: NED - New edition
Pages: 312
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  • Book Info
    A National Acoustics
    Book Description:

    In A National Acoustics, Brian Currid investigates the transformations of music in mass culture from the Weimar Republic to the end of the Nazi regime. Currid illustrates the contradictions between Germany's social and cultural histories and how the technologies of recording were vital to the emergence of a national imaginary and exposed the fault lines in the contested terrain of mass communication._x000B_

    eISBN: 978-0-8166-9419-8
    Subjects: Music

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. Introduction: German Sounds, Sounding German, and the Acoustics of Publicity
    (pp. 1-18)

    Many of us have a distinct impression of thesoundof Nazi Germany. This is not surprising: Germans and non-Germans alike repeatedly encounter “remixes” of a very particular German sound imagined to be typical of the period. This is particularly evident in the constant flow of mass cultural products, ranging from blockbusters distributed for cinematic release to made-for-TV fiction films and popular documentaries, which in ever-increasing numbers re-narrativize and restage some version of “the Nazi years.” These overlapping genres of media hyperproduction guarantee and require not only the continuing circulation of certain now well-known or easily imagined visual aspects of...

  5. 1 Radio, Mass Publicity, and National Fantasy
    (pp. 19-64)

    Radio in Germany began as an hour-long, multimedia, multisite event on the evening of October 29, 1923. Made up of a series of instrumental solos and vocal numbers, this “radio concert” mixed recordings and moments of live performance. Not only did this performance, broadcast from the Vox House at Postdamer Platz, mix musical and technological media, it also was a truly crossover event in terms of musical style. Primarily made up of short pieces from the so-called classical tradition, including chamber music, chamber arrangements of symphonic works, and operatic arias, the hour also included one “gypsy song,” and ended with...

  6. 2 The Schlager and the Singer Film: Organs of Experience and the History of Subjectivity
    (pp. 65-118)

    The previous chapter illustrated that Germany’s radio publics were by no means once and for all established with the invention of the technology, nor were they later trapped by a “totalitarian” radio practice able to instrumentalize radio technology in uniquely powerful ways. An adequate history of the medium needs to chart out a series of recurring struggles and a history of constant renegotiation, in which radio’s operation as a site of publicity and its role within the overall acoustics of publicity were far from secure. Reconceptualizing the placement of the radio in social practice and the structure of radio as...

  7. 3 “Musik” and “Musick”: “Opus Music” and Mass Culture
    (pp. 119-170)

    SchlagerandSchlagersingers clearly dominated musical mass culture during the Weimar Republic and the Nazi period. Their apparent radical newness as a media formation made and makes them seem particularly able to capture something of the “spirit” of the time, encapsulating essential components of social experience and shifts in the historical construction of subjectivity. All the same, despite the pivotal position ofSchlagerin the acoustics of publicity, it would be a mistake to ignore the crucial role played by other forms of musical practice in the expanding realm of musical mass culture between 1920 and 1945, in particular...

  8. 4 “Songs the Gypsy Plays for Us”: Racial Fantasy, Music, and the State
    (pp. 171-216)

    It might seem surprising that in a history of acoustic culture in Weimar and Nazi Germany the question of “race” has up to now played a relatively marginal role. This is, of course, not an accident, but has rather been a strategic move in trying to open up new perspectives on the period. The goal of this study has been to clear away a number of clichéd notions of the history of musical mass culture in this period. In order to engage in a properly critical investigation, it has been crucial to bracket those issues that automatically spring to mind...

  9. Notes
    (pp. 217-252)
  10. Bibliography
    (pp. 253-268)
  11. Index
    (pp. 269-280)
  12. Back Matter
    (pp. 281-281)