What is musical nationalism?

He Musical nationalism Is a movement that emerged in the middle of the nineteenth century, which aims to consolidate the main codes and values ​​of each nation Through the popular music or its folklore, trying to emphasize the essence of a determined region.

It refers to the use of national or regional materials. It includes the use of themes, melodies and rhythms characteristic of a territory.

What is musical nationalism?

This musical movement emerges as a reactionary measure to the predominance of romanticism of the Germanic music and the opera from Italy, which exerted a conditioning in the European music of the time.

Musical nationalism is often associated with the musical romanticism of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. In fact, the term is often used to describe the music of the latter.

It is the way in which the different nations have found to give a proper style to the music, being this one an expression of the nationalistic feeling.

Through it, the values, beliefs and culture of each people were expressed through the birth of new idioms based on the popular music of each region.

What are the origins of musical nationalism?

Nationalism, as a movement that proclaimed freedom from the domination of foreign cultures, originated in Romanticism.

Nationalist music emerges as a result of this movement aiming at independence, through territorial, cultural, linguistic and geographical union.

It is in the second half of the nineteenth century when a musical movement emerges as a new perspective on music in different European cities.

This phenomenon consists in the incorporation in the music of different musical generations. These were corresponding to countries that until then were influenced by the music coming from Italy and Germany.

These countries, such as Spain, France, Hungary and Russia, among many others, had their own music but had remained outside the musical evolution until then.

They shared the feeling and the need to generate something new, different, own, something that has the characteristics corresponding to their own roots.

It was throughout the nineteenth century that Europe was raised in a nationalist movement, where different cities proclaimed their emancipation, defending the right to their autonomy.

With the independence of Belgium and Greece, this nationalist political movement was accentuated, impacting on the world of music, a field that focused on tradition, language, history and territorial culture.

In these places on the periphery of Europe is where in the middle of the nineteenth century nationalist ideas begin to succeed, and Beginning to detach itself from the predominant musical domain, and manifesting the popular will.

It is after the revolutionary movements of European origin that nationalism began to develop fully, from which each country sought to show its own identity, highlighting its cultural and folkloric tradition.

Popular legends, folklore and popular melody had been the focus of Romanticism, even in the countries responsible for musical leadership at that time, for What this new ideology of musical nationalism found the opportunity to practice more strongly.

Some countries with a nationalistic ambition began to use music to express their ideals. In this way, music began to be used not only to express a regional culture, but also for its own more pragmatic manifestations than the artistic ones.

The period of Romanticism was enriched with nationalist music with the emergence of musical nationalism as an essentially romantic movement, but with notable differences from other movements.

Musical nationalism would be a particular case of Romanticism applied in certain countries. Thus, musical movements of a nationalist nature, have their bases in the artistic, belonging to the romantic ideology of that time.

In this way, as the constituent countries of the European continent, they became aware of their own national values. They expressed their desire to free themselves of the predominance and cultural influence from abroad and tried to impress on musical expressions their own regional codes and ideals.

The nationalist musicians then began to perform music based on the rhythms of their popular dances, to use typical national musical instruments and to leave their nationalistic imprint on each of the songs.

They demanded with their art the popular music inherent to their homelands, driven by the interest of making it known to the rest of the world, as something of their own, of national roots. In this way, music began to be used to express the values ​​of a society of nationalistic character, to promote expressions of an artistic and musical nature.

Artists began to look for new modes of expression that corresponded more to their own feelings and, in turn, responded to their own culture.

This aroused the feeling of unity and the desire to differentiate from others, for which they had been reduced. Musical nationalism operates as a bridge between the nineteenth and twentieth centuries coexisting with other musical movements present.

What is the function of music in nationalism?

The main attribute of music during nationalism is to be able to express the desire for territorial unification and independence. The musical style will try to worship the nation's folklorism.

The musicians considered the need to make adaptations of folk melodies so that a musical trend can be considered as nationalistic, being fundamental that the message can be transmitted with that character in the musical work.

It is in those countries that have found themselves outside the great artistic and cultural currents, where musical nationalism is going to manifest exponentially, p Allowing these nations to manifest their folk traditions to the rest of the world.

What are the characteristics of nationalist music?

Nationalist music has its origins as a result of the movement that initiated musical nationalism, which had the purpose of achieving independence with respect to the predominance of foreign music, mainly from German and Italian.

Among the main features of nationalist music can be highlighted the permanent search for identity made through the adaptation of various musical forms.

Nationalist music becomes an optimal form of expression assumed and accepted by the rest of the nations. Through it, it resorted to the own and traditional forms of each town, using rhythms, techniques and autochthonous instruments.

The voice was considered the natural instrument par excellence, to which it was accompanied with sounds generated by the body itself, like clicking or clapping.

Many of the musical instruments that were used could be elaborated with homemade materials with elements coming from vegetables, animals or any piece that is useful to be able to construct it.

Also used were instruments of learned origin, such as the violin or the accordion, corresponding to the fashions of each era. The piano becomes one of the predominant instruments, but also instruments such as the saxophone, the celesta and the pedal harp are created.

In romanticism instrumental music happens to be considered the most important among all the arts, having supremacy over vocal music. It is the orchestra that happens to be considered the instrument, for the musician who directs it.

Another characteristic of nationalist music lies in the constant reference to the folk music belonging to each country, constantly generating an enrichment in the melodies and producing a great variety and melodic richness.

In this way ethnomusicology is born, with the appearance of new musical styles and with the addition of melodic, rhythmic and structural elements of each local tradition, to the romantic musical language.

Music then becomes a symbol of identification used by citizens belonging to a nation. The musical forms preferred by the nationalist musicians were the symphonic poem, the ballet and the opera.

Romanticism in musical nationalism

Romanticism must be understood as the artistic stage subsequent to classicism. It is developed throughout the nineteenth century and has as its main characteristic the exaltation of artistic freedom.

Nationalism emerges at the middle of the century as a component of Romanticism. Although new musical styles have emerged from the expressive diversity of each nation, in all these musical variants, the romantic spirit is latent.

It is thanks to the inspiration in each country's own folklore, that new harmonious tendencies begin to emerge, which presented characteristics corresponding to the peculiarities of each region.

Within the musical nationalism can be differentiated two stages.

The first one developed in the middle of the nineteenth century, a period in which slavery remained and the effects of the French Revolution had just begun.

Music at that time had characteristics of a romantic nature, and the romantic music of this first nationalism must be understood as an affirmation of national music and at the same time as a form of rebellion before other musical cultures that prevailed at that time.

The second stage of nationalism, developed in the twentieth century where the musical language is renewed thanks to the use of elements corresponding to the national music inherent to each territorial region.

It is in this way, as musical nationalism allows different countries to free themselves from artistic colonization, which was predominantly Italian and Germanic based and had been dominant for many years.

With musical nationalism, the melodies present a great variety and new rhythms. The music acquires an important relevance during the Romanticism, having as base the folk music of each country.


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