Diversity in the Application of Music for Building or Tearing Down Communities, Organizations, and Nations

By Linda Pohly.

Published by The Diversity Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

It seems clear that musical “diversity” is ubiquitous in our 21st-century world—and this has been the case already for decades. Music is used in many ways to create communities large and small (a national anthem compared to a school song), fleeting and long lasting (an advertisement jingle compared to a favorite denominational church hymn). However, music also can be used to divide individuals and groups one from another(that same school song noted above) and to underscore conflict (music associated with war). This essay considers how music is applied, or used, in diverse ways in the process of building or tearing down communities. Twelve categories reflect these applications— an individual song is sufficient to represent some categories, while others are more broadly defined. Each category is described and provided with appropriate suggested listening examples. This investigation reflects the role music plays in basic human situations and how music can play a role in distinguishing or assuaging “difference.”

Keywords: Diversity in Music, Music as a Tool of Community, Music and “Difference”

International Journal of Diversity in Organizations, Communities and Nations, Volume 10, Issue 4, pp.149-160. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 655.097KB).

Dr. Linda Pohly

Professor of Music History and Graduate Coordinator, College of Fine Arts, School of Music, Ball State University, Muncie, Indiana, USA

Linda Pohly is a music history professor and the graduate coordinator at Ball State University. Her PhD is from the Ohio State University where she specialized in American music of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Additionally she has interests in American popular song and ethnic musics. Her research often involves the study of musical activities among the populace—what they perform, how they perform it, and why. She is the author of several refereed articles as well as a book on the vocal style and repertoire of Barbra Streisand. Linda is an active member of the Society for American Music and the College Music Society.

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