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The Civic Role of American Music

6:48 AM, May 7, 2013 • By MICHAEL WARREN
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David Tucker and Nathan Tucker have penned a brief at the American Enterprise Institute about the role music plays in American civic life. Here's an excerpt from the abstract:

Civic life is the life we live in dealing with problems of common concern. It is our public life, as opposed to our private life. In a liberal democracy, civic life is all-embracing in the sense that it is open to all. Yet in such a regime, civic life may also be a small part of life, since liberal democracy assumes the priority of private life.

Correspondingly, the music we share in our civic lives will occupy a smaller place than the music of our private lives. Music may be more private than many other activities: it is not verbal, and through its rhythmic component, affects us bodily—that is, most privately, despite the ability of groups of people to move in unison to a beat. Speeches mark our public life more than music; we have no musical equivalent of the Gettysburg Address. 

Read the whole brief here.

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