Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS:
Title: Political sound : National Socialism and its musical afterlive
Author: Hallam, Huw
ISNI:       0000 0004 5366 4943
Awarding Body: King's College London (University of London)
Current Institution: King's College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2014
Availability of Full Text:
Access from EThOS:
Access from Institution:
This thesis examines the political significance of music (and sonic expression more broadly) in National Socialist Germany and the shadow cast by it over subsequent music history. I argue that sonic expression in the Third Reich held much greater political significance than has elsewhere been recognized, featuring as a prominent component of the Reich’s sovereign command structure. The thesis attempts to shed light on this intercourse between the musical and the political at a theoretical level and to trace its impact on various developments in post-1945 sonic arts practices. Part I explores ways in which sonic expression was manipulated as part of the National Socialist regime’s articulation of sovereignty. It reframes Walter Benjamin's phrase ‘aestheticization of politics’ in relation to various forms of sonic (often vocal) activity in the Third Reich. It then analyses the National Socialist radio broadcasting system as a unique, technical and bureaucratic medium of sovereign command. This gives new insight into the place of sonic expression and music in modernity and raises questions about the quality of the relationship between music and political power and how that relationship might be modulated through creative practice. Part II then considers the musical ‘afterlives’ of this meeting of politics and sonic expression. It explores how different sonic arts practices have subsequently (since 1945) rethought and reworked the political form of sonic expression, guided by theexperience of National Socialism. Chapter Four analyses work by Luigi Nono and Bernd-Alois Zimmermann in relation to language and historical testimony. Chapter Five explores Karlheinz Stockhausen’s and Christina Kubisch’s engagements with technology. Finally, Chapter Six examines Mauricio Kagel’s treatment of the musical ‘work’ form’s temporal implications. Together, these analyses reveal the outline of an historically transformative approach to critical, politically self-reflexive music making.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available