Accepted paper:

New homes for music? Decentralization of music during the 1960s and 70s as dwelling processes in Sweden and the GDR


Petra Garberding (Södertörn University)

Paper short abstract:

Music does not only create a home for human beings but we also create homes for music. In this paper, dwelling processes through music are studied through analysis of the discursive struggle about music within the decentralization processes in music life in Sweden and the GDR 1960–1980.

Paper long abstract:

From the 1960s up to the 1980s the musical exchange between Sweden and the GDR was organized to a large extent by two authorities, the Swedish State Concerts (Svenska Rikskonserter) and the East German Artist Office (Künstler-Agentur der DDR). Performances and tours from East German artists were normally planned and controlled by the GDR government, and the East German Artist Office established a regular exchange of musicians, groups, choirs, orchestras and others with the Swedish State Concert Office. This exchange started during the 1960s and continued until the the GDR dissolved in 1990. In both states there were similar political ideas about the impact of music on human beings: Music - especially classical music - was often interpreted as an important tool to educate people and to turn them into well-educated, active democratic citizens. An important task for the two organizations was to make music available in the whole country for everyone. A new human being and a good democratic citizen should be created through a decentralized music life: Everybody, even people in small cities and on the countryside, should be able to listen to "good" music. This paper gives an insight in different discourses on music, space and home making, how music moved out from the big concert halls and into barns, schools and hospitals in order to create new democratic human beings and reliable citizens. I also discuss the discursive struggle about "good" and "bad" music during this period and how these ideas were related to the political development.

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Dwelling in musical movement: making a home both in and through music