Music of Struggle and Protest in the 20th Century

  • Anthony Seeger
Part of the Springer Handbooks book series (SHB)


This is a description of a sound, a poetics, and a political stance in the United States of America during a turbulent century and a half written by someone who grew up in the social milieu described. It endeavors to trace some of the historical and literary roots of 20th-century protest music and discusses the political and musical impact of certain musician-activists on the styles of protest music popular in the second half of the 20th century. These included Charles Seeger, John and Alan Lomax, and Pete Seeger, among others. The tradition of using song to express political ideas flourished in the first four decades of the century, declined due to political repression in the fifth decade, flourished again during the 1960–1980s, and moved to spoken poetry and rap toward the end of the century. For a brief period of time the 20th century forms and performances of music of struggle and protest in the United States had a major impact on music and how music was used in other struggles around the world.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Dept. of EthnomusicologyUniversity of California Los Angeles (UCLA)AnnapolisUSA

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