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YYGS Students - During our class session, we will divide you into teams of two to explore one of the eight topics listed below. Please read the descriptions and if you prefer to work on a specific topic, please send the team number to email@example.com before class on Tuesday.
If you wish to look at any of the topic pages before class you may, but it is not necessary. The Google docs will be available during class for your team work.
Session 3b: July 28, 2020
We welcome you to our class, Music and Power, which will explore the intersection of music and power with examples from five different centuries over the past 650 years. Each of our topics is built around a musical resource from the special collections of the Yale University Library: either a manuscript or piece of printed music; a historic recording; or an oral history interview. These are complemented by historic texts and photographs, as well as contemporary recordings and videos. The Irving S. Gilmore Music Library and the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library are the collections where these original sources are housed. Were we meeting, would be able to show you some of the originals, but as we are not able to do that, we have focused on materials that have been digitized and placed online. We hope that someday we will have an opportunity to welcome you to the Yale Music Library, where you may arrange to see some of these resources in person.
The Mellon Chansonnier, a beautiful, extravagant manuscript of French songs, was compiled in the Kingdom of Naples for the wedding of Beatrix of Aragon (daughter of the king) and Matthias Corvinus, King of Hungary, in 1476. The songs are by the leading composers of the day, many of whom were from the Duchy of Burgundy (the present-day northern France, Belgium, and the Netherlands).
The English composer William Walton originally wrote the majestic march Crown Imperial for the planned coronation of one monarch in 1936, but it was first performed at the coronation of a different monarch in 1937, and he revised it for the coronation of a third monarch in 1953.
During the American presidential election of 1860, a group called the "Wide-Awakes" held torchlight parades and wore military-style uniforms. They supported the candidacy of Abraham Lincoln and opposed the extension of slavery. They produced a pocket-sized book of songs to promote their ideas.
American popular sheet music from 1913-1918 reflects the changing public perspectives on the war. Some of these songs were popular enough to have been recorded, and these early recordings can often be found online.
During the Cold War, the U.S. State Department organized a series of international concert tours by famous jazz musicians, as a way of improving America's image overseas. Benny Goodman and his band made two such tours: to several east Asian countries in 1956-57, and to the Soviet Union in 1962.
Ethel Smyth (1858-1944), the most prominent female British composer of her era, was a major figure in the struggle to gain women the right to vote in the United Kingdom. She went to prison for throwing a rock through the window of a member of the cabinet, and she composed The March of the Women in 1911, the suffragist movement's anthem.
“Lift Every Voice and Sing” was composed by two brothers, James Weldon Johnson (words) and J. Rosamond Johnson (music) in 1900. By 1929 it became known as the “Negro National Anthem.” The song’s relevance continues to the present day.
John Luther Adams (1953- ) returned from environmental activistism to composing music that speaks to the need to protect the environment. Adams composed Become Ocean in 2013, writing “Life on this earth first emerged from the sea. As the polar ice melts and sea level rises, we humans find ourselves facing the prospect that once again we may quite literally become ocean.” The work was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 2014 and the Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Classical Composition in 2015.