Summary Of Battle Notes: The Effect Of Music During The Vietnam War

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Music and War: The Effect of Music During the Vietnam War In the book called Battle Notes: Music of the Vietnam War, author Lee Andresen discussed the various viewpoints of songwriters in their music, pertaining to the American involvement in the Vietnam War. His thesis was that “All American wars had their music, but Vietnam was a conflict in which music played an especially significant role. Beyond simply entertaining, it also shaped and articulated public opinion in unprecedented fashion.” Andresen showed this in his work, by showing how different forms of both anti-war and pro-war songs had an effect on the American public. Because of the various songs written by anti-war singers like Jack DeShannon and Scott McKenzie, as well as promotion …show more content…

When American troops were sent over for direct military operations in Vietnam, “the majority of American citizens and composers supported the American involvement in Vietnam.” However, Arnold pointed out that this war was different than the patriotic feelings of World War Two, where there were songs composed to support America against the Axis powers. These patriotic feelings would not be as high, due to the war being televised, huge losses of lives, and many Americans not knowing why the United States was involved in Southeast Asia. Because of this, “the American public also became disillusioned as the war grew increasingly unpopular.” At the same time, “a growing number of American composers of art music became active participants in this televised war.” Arnold showed several examples of variations of art music that composers created. These included music in which “composers satirized their own troops” and “actively wrote genuine laments for their own soldiers wounded and killed.” Many composers “intensified the horror in its portrayal of war. Composers use electronic machine gun fire, sounds of actual bombs exploding, indeterminant sections with singers shouting and screaming, and other realistic sounds.” In conclusion, Arnold said that despite the efforts of composers, “Vietnam War art music remains a failed genre-a failed voice in the protest movement. With the exception of George Crumb’s Black Angels, an outgrowth of the Vietnam age and not particularly about it, no great or even well-known work of art music has emerged from or about the war. The art music failed to make a significant impact upon the war or the music world

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