Politics cannot be kept out of music

Ref: C2225531

This course will not lean towards any specific ideological political persuasion, but will, for example, show how Tudor 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 adapt after the King's death. The course will consider Mozart's arguments with Joseph II, and Beethoven's arguments with the censor. Verdi was strongly involved in the politics of Italian unification, Elgar and his contemporaries felt obliged to write music to lift the spirits during World War 1, and the Nazi and Stalinist regimes put enormous pressures on composers to conform. The course will also consider the way in which recent politicians have used music to reflect their own particular beliefs.

Course aim

Few composers have avoided political influences. Some ignored them, some were persecuted or even killed; others collaborated and some rebelled. And somehow 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

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 recent politicians have used music to promote their ideas

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
  • A wide range of musical styles and genres will be covered. Music by introduced, played on CD and discussion is encouraged.

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
  • Although this course deals mainly with music, the same political influences are applied to theatre, literature, art, sport etc., - students might wish to consider these.

Download full course information sheet

Politics cannot be kept out of music


As a registered charity, and to meet our funders’ requirements, we need to check a few things with you before you book. Please could we ask that you check the list below to ensure you meet our basic criteria:

  • You are paying the standard fee (with a credit or debit card) or you are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • You have a valid email address so that you can receive confirmation of your booking
  • You have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • You are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2018
  • You have read and accept our standard terms and conditions

Not sure or have further questions? Contact courseenquiries@wea.org.uk

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