Politics Cannot be Kept Out of Music

Ref: C2224517

This course will not lean towards any specific ideological political persuasion, but how such how Elizabethan composers were obliged to change their style depending on whether the monarch was Anglican or Catholic, how Purcell wrote in a manner suited to Charles II's taste and how he had to find new ideas after the King's death. The course will consider Mozart's arguments with Joseph II and beethoven's fights with the censor. Verdi was strongly involved in the politics of Italian unification and elgar and his contemporaries felt obliged to write music to lift the spirits during World War 1. The persecution undertaken by the Nazis and by Stalin cast an appallingly dark shadow over twentieth-century music, but must not be ignored.

Course aim

Few composers have avoided political influences. Many ignored it, some were persecuted or even killed, others collaborated and some rebelled. And show they produced very fine music.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • No skills or experience needed
  • This course is suitable for beginners and improvers
  • Anybody is welcome. It is not necessary to be able to read music or play an instrument, though if anyone wishes to offer .....!

By the end of the course I should be able to:

  • explain how composers adapted their styles for political considerations
  • demonstrate how music fitted into a wider socio-political context
  • consider the way today's politicians use music as a tool

How will I be taught?

  • The WEA tutor will use a range of different teaching and learning methods and encourage you and the group to be actively involved in your learning

What kind of feedback can I expect?

  • You will have opportunities to discuss your progress with your tutor
  • You will be encouraged to share your work with the group and discuss your learning
  • You will be encouraged to consider other students work and give your opinions and suggestions

What else do I need to know?

  • Nothing else is needed

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • No pre reading is required but research on the subject on the internet or in the library may be helpful

What can I do next?

  • Progress to another WEA course
  • Progress to a course with another provider
  • This course deals specifically with music, but students might find it interesting to consider the influence of politics on artists, writers, philosophers etc.

Download full Course information sheet

Politics Cannot be Kept Out of Music


You can if you meet all of the following requirements:

  • are paying the standard fee or are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • are paying with a credit/debit card or are not paying a fee because of a qualifying benefit
  • have a valid email address
  • have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2017
  • have read and accept the standard terms and conditions
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