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Neue Sachlichkeit, Mass Media and Matters of Musical Style in the 1920s

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Chapter Summary

With regard to literature and art the term Neue Sachlichkeit has been associated especially with ‘objectivity’. This does not go for music. In Weimar Republic music, the label “Neue Sachlichkeit” was used to indicate social and medial shifts in the culture of musical production and performance, as can be shown by the essays of Ernst Krenek, Kurt Weill, Hans Heinz Stuckenschmidt, and others. In the early 1920s, the young avant-garde aimed at harmonizing the aesthetic premises of expressionism with the egalitarian premises of post-revolutionary culture policies. On the one hand, the experiences, made in the failure of this attempted synthesis, forwarded re-orientations towards the possibilities of new, perceivably modern media and mass-communicative art. On the other hand, the integration of popular music forms and mechanic equipment into neusachliche operas for instance, as well as the reference to “mechanische Musik” (music in mechanic media) should not be misunderstood as elements of a style of musical Neue Sachlichkeit. All these elements were mere consequences of the communicative and medial conditions, posed in the middle of interest about the upcoming neusachliche aesthetics.



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