By James Kennaway
Song has been used as a remedy for ailment considering way back to King David's lyre, however the inspiration that it would be a major reason for psychological and actual disease was once infrequent till the past due eighteenth century. at the moment, physicians began to argue that over the top song, or the incorrect type of tune, might over-stimulate a weak anxious method, resulting in disorder, immorality or even dying. on account that then there were successive waves of ethical panics approximately meant epidemics of musical anxiousness, brought on by every thing from Wagner to jazz and rock 'n' roll. It was once this clinical and important debate that supplied the psychiatric rhetoric of "degenerate track" that used to be the explanation for the persecution of musicians in Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union. through the Nineteen Fifties, the point of interest of clinical nervousness approximately tune shifted to the concept "musical brainwashing" and "subliminal messages" may well pressure the nerves and result in brain regulate, psychological ailment and suicide. extra lately, the superiority of sonic guns and using song in torture within the so-called warfare on Terror have either made the topic of song that's undesirable for the healthiness worryingly topical. This booklet outlines and explains the improvement of this concept of pathological track from the Enlightenment till the current day, supplying an unique contribution to the heritage of drugs, track and the physique.
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Extra resources for Bad Vibrations. The History of the Idea of Music as a Cause of Disease
52 For instance, the prominent Viennese physician Joseph Frank, who did much to spread the influence of Brunonianism in both Italy and Germany, stated in 1803 that: It would be easy for me to prove at this juncture that the effect of music can be explained by stimulation theory. 55 Peter Lichtenthal’s influential 1807 book Der musikalische Arzt (‘The Musical Doctor’) was also explicitly Brunonian in its treatment of the effects of music on the body. 56 However, he also believed that musical stimulation could be dangerous, arguing that, ‘music must necessarily have damaging consequences when the activity of the heart and blood vessels is increased, as is the case with inflammatory (hypersthenic) fever’, again using Brunonian terminology.
Feminist scholars of music such as Susan McClary and Suzanne Cusick have been a huge influence on my work, providing a way for thinking about music, sexuality and gender. 65 Examinations of auditory culture such as Jacques Attali’s Noise, Murray Schafer’s The Tuning of the World, Jonathan Sterne’s The Audible Past, James Johnson’s Listening in Paris and most recently Veit Erlmann’s Reason and Resonance have given depth to our understanding of the cultural construction of hearing. They have shown how what listeners experience is fundamentally mediated, and that listening is in part a cultural constructed phenomenon.
They have shown how what listeners experience is fundamentally mediated, and that listening is in part a cultural constructed phenomenon. While working on this project, it soon became apparent that the enormous amount of relevant material meant that a comprehensive history that included everything would be unmanageable. Rather than impose an arbitrary limit from the outset, for instance, looking only at Germany or Britain, I have chosen to move the focus from chapter to chapter, setting out the most important developments and the most striking elements of continuity and discontinuity in each period.