Although the use of music for extramusical purposes has been a part of American culture for some time, the phenomenon remained largely unknown to the general public until revelations became widespread of startling military practices during the second Iraq War. In Music in American Crime Prevention and Punishment, Lily E. Hirsch explores the related terrain at the intersection of music and law, demonstrating the ways in which music has become a tool of law enforcement and justice through: police and community leaders’ use of classical music in crime deterrence and punishment; the use of rap lyrics as prosecutorial evidence; allegations of music as incitement to violence; and the role of music in U.S. prisons and in detention centers in Guantanamo, Iraq, and Afghanistan.
In the course of her study, Hirsch asks several questions: How does the law treat music? When and why does music participate in the law? How does music influence the legal process? How does the legal process influence music? And how do these appropriations affect the Romantic ideals underlying our view of music?
"Taking an impressive and new approach to contemporary musical culture, the book is the first major intervention in what will soon be a thriving subfield of contemporary musicological study. Hirsch is one of the most subtle thinkers in musicology."
—Robert Fink, UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music
"Lucid and free from gratuitous jargon, its strongest feature is its close documentation and examination of specific case studies in the field."
—Bruce Johnson, Macquarie University
"From Enya to Eminem, Manilow to Mozart, and Barney The Purple Dinosaur to Beethoven, Lily Hirsch traces the use of music in the U.S. legal system and in doing so lays down profound challenges to musicologists and fans alike. Along the way we meet murderers, judges, terrorists, and victims all seeking to come to terms with the power of music. Music in American Crime Prevention and Punishment should be read by all with an interest in music and in law."
—Martin Cloonan, University of Glasgow
Jacket illustration: ©iStockphoto.com/acilo
Lily E. Hirsch is an independent scholar. Previously, she was Assistant Professor of Music and Director of the Bachelor of Arts program in music at Cleveland State University. She is the author of A Jewish Orchestra in Nazi Germany: Musical Politics and the Berlin Jewish Culture League (University of Michigan Press, 2010).