Anyone who only understands music, doesn't understand that either.

Hans Eisler



Thinking laterally


Songs of War: Music as a weapon - Documentary
A film by Tristan Chytroschek

In Songs of War, director Tristan Chytroschek explores the extraordinary harmony between music and violence. Sesame Street composer, Christopher Cerf, always wanted his music to be fun and entertaining. But then he learned that his songs had been used to torture prisoners in Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib. He is stunned by this abuse of his work and wants to find out how this could happen.
Cerf embarks on a journey to learn what makes music such a powerful stimulant. In the process, he speaks to soldiers, psychologists and prisoners tortured with his music at Guantanamo and finds out how the military has been employing music as a potent weapon for hundreds of years.

You can find the documentary here:




Melissa Müller, Reinhard Piechoki
Alice's Piano: The Life of Alice Herz-Sommer
St. Martin's Press, 2012
ISBN-13: 978-1-250-00741-4

Alice Herz-Sommer was born in Prague in 1903. A talented pianist from a very early age, she became famous throughout Europe; but, as the Nazis rose to power, her world crumbled. In 1942, her mother was deported to the Theresienstadt concentration camp and vanished. In 1943, Alice, her husband and their six-year-old son were sent there, too. In the midst of horror, music, especially Chopin's "Etudes," was Alice's salvation. Theresienstadt was a "show camp," a living slice of Nazi propaganda created to convince outsiders that the Jews were being treated humanely. In more than a hundred concerts, Alice gave her fellow prisoners hope in a time of suffering. Written with the cooperation of Alice Herz-Sommer, Melissa Müller and Reinhard Piechocki's "Alice's Piano" is the first time her story has been told. […]




Diane W. Middelbrook
Suits Me – The Double Life of Billy Tipton
Houghton Miffin Company, 1995
ISBN-13: 978-0-395-95789-9

This is the story of Billy Tipton, a female jazz musician who lived as a man from the time she was nineteen, until he died at age seventy-four. Billy Tipton's death in the provincial western city of Spokane, Washington, made news all over the world, not because Billy was a well-known performer but because the scale of the deception and the scarcity of explanations endowed the skimpy available facts with the aura of myth.
Diane Middlebrook's biography of Billy Tipton retraces his drama back to her origins. Drawing on interviews with over a hundred and fifty people who knew Billy or had useful knowledge of the world where Billy made a living, Middlebrook shows that Billy had two talents: one for playing music, the other for playing roles. Suits Me gives Billy Tipton a posthumous curtain call.