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Compare and contrast music from at least three distinct historical periods or decades

Ideas become propaganda when their dissemination is framed by a specific intention to influence. This ideological 'propagation' seeks to spread and cultivate the seeds of an innately politicized and in most cases, an overtly political idea. The term 'propaganda' itself is a derogatory attribution applied to a particular style of promotional brainwashing. It implies carefully selected informational content to suit a cause and as a consequence, an imposed social hierarchy within the intelligentsia in having had the prerogative to make such selections.

The tampering of lyrics has been used to great propagandist extent throughout the history of song, with a notable example being the complicated ruse concocted by the Nazis using American jazz standards. Jazz's inseparable sociological and historical link to Negro and Jewish subcultures ensures the genre is already politically loaded. In addition, jazz melodies exist largely to represent an associated song text which is often commonly known to a contextual public. This familiarity makes the original texts of popular jazz tunes well-suited for replacement with political satires, as was the case with "Charlie" Schwendler and his orchestra in a grand ruse to communicate the corruption of Churchill to a British audience. As this kind of censorship is innate to the concept of propaganda itself, the remainder of this study will focus on political manipulation as it applies and is applied to untexted music.

Propagandist Appropriation

Thus far this exploration has concentrated primarily on symphonic music which carries its political intention at a deep structural level as set in place by the composer; either by the wilful hand of a megalomaniac such as Wagner, or as a response to governmental death threats, as was the case with Shostakovich. The evolution of contemporary mass media regularly demonstrates the further motivational powers of music when it is attached to Propagandist causes externally and independent of its original compositional intent.

Ludwig van Beethoven (1770 - 1827)

In terms of retrospective propagandist appropriation, Beethoven's 'Ode to Joy' is quite possibly the most celebrated political anomaly in the history of Western music. As a grand hymn to freedom and victory, its theme has surely represented hundreds, if not thousands of opposing causes - governmental regimes, revolutions, brotherhoods, calls to anarchy - and yet remarkably still remains essentially freestanding from attachment to any one political agenda. As a deservedly worthy finale to a groundbreaking symphonic work and a lifetime of extraordinary composition, it was the fruit of a profoundly deaf ear. It is testament to human achievement, determination and mortal success. Compositionally, it defies generic, cultural and sociological categorization in its resonance with both lofty and dance styles, secular and sacred idioms, combines military, noble and sacrilegious references. It has been liberally and majestically quoted by such disparate parties as the Nazis, the French Revolutionaries, the International Olympic Committee and the European Union. It evokes ownership, patriotism and unity, and represents greatness and grandeur as equally as it does rags to riches. According to Beiswanger (1939), even on its first hearing certain music has the capacity to invite an "unexpected aura of familiarity and joyous recognition". It is ultimately music's inexplicable propensity for eliciting that so-called 'luminous moment' - that heart-thumping motivation - that cements its place in the artistic world as probably the most effective and timeless communicator of social propaganda.

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