How did music in the twentieth century both influence and reflect American culture? The Fall 2013 issue of Dædalus examines how music – in Hollywood films, in concert halls, in private homes and public spaces – helped shape our modern selves.
The issue is guest-edited by Gerald Early, an essayist, culture critic, and professor at Washington University in St. Louis, together with musicologists Patrick Burke and Mina Yang. In his introduction, Early notes that technology has made music ubiquitous, changing the way we interact with and perceive it. No longer constrained to live performances and stereos, music is now portable, editable, and easily obtainable. This shift, along with a growing focus on the concept of identity, has rendered music a powerful tool – socially, politically, and culturally.