Between chords and ideologies, by José Luis Conde. Review

Between chords and ideologies, essay

Between chords and ideologies It is an informative essay signed by the Argentine musicologist and professor Jose Luis Conde. It is the first title with which a new publishing house is born, Medio Tono, which is dedicated to the publication of works on music. Its objective is to become a reference for a genre that seems destined for a very exclusive audience, although its aim is also to bring it closer to all types of readers. This first bet succeeds. There goes my review.

José Luis Conde — author

José Luis Conde was born in Buenos Aires in 1961. He is a professor of History of music, Music criticism, Aesthetics of music, Musical language and Guitar at the Higher Institute of Music of the National University of Tucumán. In his career as a musician he has participated in several concerts such as guitar soloist and also as a member of chamber music groups. He at the same time dedicates himself to the composition of works for guitar and chamber ensembles.

In 1995 he founded the instrumental ensemble classrooms dedicated to medieval, Renaissance, baroque and contemporary music. He has published various musical dissemination articles in newspapers and cultural publications and for years he has been carrying out extensive work as lecturer on topics of music appreciation, musical aesthetics and music history.

Between chords and ideologies - Review

With the subtitle of Music, nations and totalitarianisms, this essay is divided into two big blocks and aims to be a general reflection of the role of music in the different social scenarios that occurred from the mid or late 19th century and throughout the 20th century. This is how this social and artistic panorama is revealed through the lives, works and careers of great European composers. They adapted, changed, or even became victims of those social and political movements that occurred.

So, in a easy and accessible reading For all readers about relevant facts and composers that are interconnected, we walk among the centralist nationalisms of Germany or France or the most distant ones such as Norwegian, Hungarian, Czech or Russian from the 19th century. And we come to the conditioned creation of music forced by the totalitarianisms of the 20th such as the Soviet, Italian, German or Spanish dictatorships.

Ideology in music

Between chords and ideologies It covers – without going too far into the titles of works or composers – a wide period of time and the most relevant ones. The bravest thing about this essay is that it wants analyze music with capital letters from a different perspective: that of ideology. He does it without artifice, with the right and necessary rigor and knowledge and prose that is easy to read and follow. So the author manages to put the reader both in the lives of composers as famous as Wagner, Falla, Stravinsky, Bartók, Glinka or Shostakovich and the events that surrounded them and conditioned the creation of their works.

And not only can it discover other lesser-known or more ignored authors, but it also makes us draw a common timeline with the current present. Make us see the parallelism that may also be occurring in this present, not only in terms of musical composition, but in general artistic creation. It is also inevitable that we compare the musical creation of the past two centuries with what is seen now and how it is conditioned by some similar parameters of political direction or even censorship and self-censorship in authors and in all musical genres.

José Luis Conde has also taken an Eastern maxim as a summary for this essay, that of Confucius who says that "it is enough to listen to the music of a court to diagnose the political and moral character of a nation."


Una good reading for lovers of essays, experts or laymen in the genre, who want to read a different vision or learn a general one than the one they had about music and its most classic and relevant composers.

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