The Pipe, the Drum and the Thunder Run: Music and War

by Todd Mundt on November 16, 2009

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Producer: CBC Radio 2
Listen Again

On this episode of The Nerve, host Jowi Taylor surveys the entwined histories of war and music. Military music is meant to stir the blood. In order to achieve this, some instruments, some compositions, some sounds are more favoured than others. The Israelites used trumpets to bring down the walls of Jericho. Coppola’s Apocalypse Now helicopters played Ride of the Valkyries, which was based on an actual practice used during the Vietnam War – and is used today as part of the “Thunder Run” strategy in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Scots went to war with bagpipes. And every army has a band. And music can also be an instrument of torture, as happens today, when the U.S. Army uses music to “forcibly interrogate” its prisoners.

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