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Victory through HarmonyThe BBC and Popular Music in World War II$
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Christina L. Baade

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780195372014

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195372014.001.0001

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Music While You Work: Discipline, Dance Music, and Workers in Wartime

Music While You Work: Discipline, Dance Music, and Workers in Wartime

Chapter:
(p.60) 3Music While You Work: Discipline, Dance Music, and Workers in Wartime
Source:
Victory through Harmony
Author(s):

Christina L. Baade

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195372014.003.0004

Chapter 3 examines Music While You Work (MWYW), created by the BBC in response to the production drives spurred by the retreat at Dunkirk in June 1940. The half-hour program united ideologies of music as a force for cultural uplift with research in industrial efficiency in service of the war effort. As the program developed, it reflected concerns with the new female workforce, for the apathetic and unruly bodies of conscripted women workers threatened to slow production, detract from the nation's war effort, and even undermine “the health of all democracy.” Prized for its tonic qualities, MWYW was a powerful tool for factory discipline. Producers harnessed popular and light music, not according to entertainment or artistic values but for their effect on production, audibility, and impact on worker morale. Nevertheless, the program also evoked practices of dancing and background listening, which had become mass leisure activities during the preceding decades.

Keywords:   Music While You Work, Dunkirk, women workers, discipline, factory, popular music, light music

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