“Sailing Seas Depends on the Helmsman” : Songs of the Cultural Revolution in China
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This paper examines how music was utilized as a political tool during the Cultural Revolution in China (1966-1976) by analyzing musical compositions from three different time periods: pre Cultural Revolution, early years of Cultural Revolution (1966-1969), and the late years of Cultural Revolution (1971-1976). The analysis shows that music during the Cultural Revolution was mainly used to unite and mobilize the masses under a single political ideology: Maoism. However, research suggests that despite the utilitarian approach to music, the overwhelming nostalgia that the older generations in China have for the Cultural Revolution shows that there is a higher purpose to music than a simple political tool.