Arming up

Music is a weapon of mass construction. (That’s the entire post).

Just heard on Spanish radio, I’ve no idea who said it:

Music is a weapon of mass construction.

Author: James Wimberley

James Wimberley (b. 1946, an Englishman raised in the Channel Islands. three adult children) is a former career international bureaucrat with the Council of Europe in Strasbourg. His main achievements there were the Lisbon Convention on recognition of qualifications and the Kosovo law on school education. He retired in 2006 to a little white house in Andalucia, His first wife Patricia Morris died in 2009 after a long illness. He remarried in 2011. to the former Brazilian TV actress Lu Mendonça. The cat overlords are now three. I suppose I've been invited to join real scholars on the list because my skills, acquired in a decade of technical assistance work in eastern Europe, include being able to ask faux-naïf questions like the exotic Persians and Chinese of eighteenth-century philosophical fiction. So I'm quite comfortable in the role of country-cousin blogger with a European perspective. The other specialised skill I learnt was making toasts with a moral in the course of drunken Caucasian banquets. I'm open to expenses-paid offers to retell Noah the great Armenian and Columbus, the orange, and university reform in Georgia. James Wimberley's occasional publications on the web

11 thoughts on “Arming up”

  1. Daniel Barembaum. Argentine born pianist and conductor, widower of Cellust Jaqueline Du Pre, of the “Hillary and Jackie” movie fame.

    1. You are thinking of Bonnie Prince Charlie, no doubt. The Jacobites certainly won the music rematch. Are there any other examples? Lillibulerlo is a good Whig song, but it's earlier and aimed at the Irish not the Scots.

  2. There are a lot of fantastic songs from WWI. From round two, not so much, apart from Lili Marlene, and the words to that were written in 1915.

    1. At first the Nazis disapproved of Lilli Marlene, as lachrymose and insufficiently martial, and even playing to morale-sapping and realistic doubts about the fidelity of girlfriends left behind. But when a Wehrmacht radio station in Hungary took it up as a signature, it was so popular with German troops that Goebbels changed tack. On the Allied side, there were upbeat versions rewritten by ingenious propagandists, rather missing the point.

    2. WWI:

      WWII: the immortal songs were about the return of normal life, not martial: <a href="” target=”_blank”>

      +1 on Spanish Civil War songs
      The Horst Wessel Lied and the Internationale are more evidence that having the best song doesn't assure a win.

  3. Winning is not here the only or even the main thing. Music helps people to endure hardship and loss together. Military music has at times had a function in battle beyond signalling: in the drilled regiments of 18th-century warfare, marching in lockstep into fire (see my Lillibulerlo link); in the charges of Scottish clansmen to the skirling of bagpipes; and in rousing jihadi enthusiasm, as with the Horst Wessel and the Battle Hymn of the Republic. (No equivalence in the causes of course). But surely group-building and consolation have always been more important.

    My distant cousin General Douglas Wimberley commanded the 51st Highland Division at Alamein. He sent pipers with the leading troops to help guide them through the minefields, and perhaps in the traditional hope of unnerving the enemy. A Scottish military piper is supposed to be a combat soldier, not a bandsman safely in the rear.

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