Sounds of liberty
Publication date: 7 November 2017
Sounds of liberty explores the role of music in the transmission of political culture over time and distance, focusing on radicals and reformers committed to the struggle for a better future. It follows in the footsteps of relentlessly travelling activists – both women and men – and brings to light the importance of music-making in the lived experience of politics. It shows how music encouraged, unified, divided, consoled and reminded; and it helps to understand better the affective register of the political and cultural life of those who composed, performed and consumed it.
Throughout the long nineteenth century the sounds of liberty resonated across the Anglophone world: in the faint strains of ‘rough music’ played on the streets of Toronto and the ‘middle-brow’ performances within the walls of a secularist coven in Christchurch; in cacophonous election songs swirling around the hustings in Glasgow and Sunday afternoon chamber music concerts in the heart of radical Holborn; in defiant anthems blaring slightly out of tune on picket lines in Broken Hill and in hymns warbled by labour church choirs in Winnipeg.
The first section examines songs; the second examines music’s place in the public sphere where people – individually and collectively – made music when marching, electioneering, celebrating and commemorating, as well as striking, rioting and rebelling. The final section explores music-making within the walls of a range of associations and institutions including the difficult and often destructive part it played in European interaction with indigenous people.
Publisher: Manchester Studies in Imperialism