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Political Music

Legitimization and Contestation


Edited By Tomasz Bichta and Anna Szwed-Walczak

In the 12 chapters of this book the authors argue for the universal presence of music in public space and social relations. The examples of American, British, Hungarian, Polish and Russian music serve to elucidate two functions of political music, that of legitimizing and contesting political power. Both satirical songs with their ironic commentary on specific events and people as well as protest songs undermining the system corroborate the universal character of the legitimizing and delegitimizing function of music. The book is addressed to readers interested in countercultural movements and politically engaged music, especially to students of political studies, sociology and cultural studies.

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Politics and History Reflected in Songs Composed by Hungarian National Rock Bands


Ewa Jędras1

Abstract: In the mid-1990s Hungarian national rock (Hungarian nemzeti rock) was distinguished as a separate genre. The lyrics of the songs composed by national rock musicians contain nationalist motifs and fragments devoted to the history of Hungary and its socio-political situation. An analysis of lyrics of three popular national rock bands – Ismerős Arcok, Romantikus Erőszak and Hungarika – makes it possible to distinguish which historical and political motifs appear therein. These include key moments in the history of Hungary as well as an assessment of the political situation of the state in the wake of the political transformation. The texts analysed here commemorate the events and heroes of the revolutions of 1848 and 1956. What is more, the lyrics contain irredentist fragments expressing hope or certainty that Hungary will regain its pre-Trianon Treaty boundaries. Through song lyrics the artists critically assess the situation in Hungary in the wake of the transformation of the political system and the government of Ferenc Gyurcsány, the Prime Minister from the Hungarian Socialist Party who was in office between 2004 and 2009.

Keywords: Hungary, Hungarian rock bands, Hungarian history, nemzeti rock

Music may produce a multilevel effect on listeners. Apart from being a source of aesthetic experience and entertainment, it can also serve as a medium for transmitting a specific, ideologically coloured outlook. Marek Jeziński and Łukasz Wojtkowski noticed that music

captures … a wide spectrum of emotions, conveys and glorifies certain...

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