"Bouncin’ in Bavaria." Remapping the lingua franca of Jazz in Postwar Germany and the Netherlands
Frankfurt : Peter Lang
InGessner, I.; Bauridl, B.; Hebel, U. (ed.), German-American Encounters in Bavaria and Beyond, 1945-2015, pp. 287-312
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Engelse Taal en Cultuur
Gessner, I.; Bauridl, B.; Hebel, U. (ed.), German-American Encounters in Bavaria and Beyond, 1945-2015
SubjectCultures of War and Liberation; Europe in a Changing World
In the cultural memory of the Netherlands, the soundtrack of liberation is defined by U.S. jazz and swing. In Germany, the soundtrack of recovery and reconstruction comes from the radio loudspeakers transmitting jazz from the American Forces Network. How did music transform the imagery of destruction, despair, and hope into a new emotional landscape across former enemy lines? How can we trace global exchange and cultural flows (see Uricchio) as well as processes of (re)mediation (see Bolter and Grusin)? And to what extent does our cultural memory of jazz as the soundtrack of liberation deviate from ‘experiential memory’ (Assmann), namely the sound of the songs performed and heard in 1945? My comparative analysis builds on recent developments in the field of sound studies as a reaction to changes in culture and technology as well as on interdisciplinary work related to visual culture studies. I do not want to limit my work to the study of sound culture, sonic culture, auditory culture, or aural culture, but rather link the analysis of music to its potential affects, its function in cultural memory, its distribution channels, and thereby the visual and textual dimension. For example, our perspective on the soundtrack of Dutch liberation changes if we bring in a hitherto neglected archive of sheet music with its colorful caricatures on the covers, the musical scores, and the (multilingual) lyrics. In Germany, the function of the post-1945 American Forces Network radio offers a new perspective on intercultural exchange if we put our analytical searchlight less on the military history of radio in times of war but rather on the reception history of non-American listeners who tuned in for different reasons than the original (American military) target audience.
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