The Music of War: 1914–1918

An international conference to mark the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War. Held as part of the British Library’s Centenary events programme (see also, supported by The Oxford Research Centre in the Humanities.

Friday August 29 to Sunday, August 31, 2014, The British Library, London


From the sound of artillery to the drone of Zeppelins, those living through the First World War were only too familiar with the sounds of war, whether on the home or fighting fronts. These ominous sounds of death and destruction formed a backdrop to the alternative sounds of war: music-making. In recent years there has been a welcome increase in scholarly attention to musical activity during the First World War, and this has begun to reveal the multiple and complex roles of music during the conflict. For civilians and soldiers alike, music of all kinds played a central part in the battle, whether as entertainment, as a powerful means to boost morale, as a vehicle of government propaganda, as a therapeutic tool, or as part of commemoration rituals. The forthcoming centenary of the war is a timely opportunity to reconsider the fundamental role of music and musicians during the exceptional circumstances of 1914–1918. This conference will provide a forum for musicologists, cultural historians, and other scholars to come together to discuss the contribution of music in all its forms to the war, whether Western Art or popular music, on the home or fighting fronts, and in combatant or non-combatant countries.

Conference Organisers: Jane Angell and Dr Rachel Moore

The full programme of the conference will be published on the conference website, where a list of accommodation is currently posted, and details of registration, when available, may also be found.

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