Music as Propaganda in the German Reformation
The reformation was a religious and political movement that took place in the year 1517. This movement was spread by the Cristian humanist Martin Luther, when he posted his “Ninety Five Theses”. The reformation itself is one of those things everybody has heard about but no one quite understands, even nowadays, 500 years after this movement occurred.
The main reason for this movement is unknown, however, some causes are being slowly known. First of all, as this movement occurred in the renaissance, humanism was on the air and all the humanist ideas were being spread, so people were thinking more rationally, thus questioning the church and its ways of working. Also, the printing press as recently invented, and it helped dispersing the protestant ideas worldwide.
Also, the monarchs or Europe challenged the church and the pope’s power, since church was even more powerful than some of the European kingdoms and monarchies. European monarchies did not like that the church was wealthy and had influence upon people, so they got against the church and its pope.
Furthermore, church wealth and power tended to be abused by some of the members of the clergy. Church used to sell some of its offices, charging people to help them position in places of power. But the main issue that made the reformation happen was the sale of indulgences, so church made people believe that they could buy their way into heaven without making good deeds.
Because of all of these issues, the German monk Martin Luther criticized the church and its nepotism and corruption. His first objection was to Johann Tetzel von Wittenberg, who was offering the sale of indulgences to help rebuild St. Peter Cathedral in Rome, so he posted his 95 theses and these were spread thanks to the printing press. Luther was later excommunicated by Pope Leo X.
One of Luther’s main ideals was inclusion, since Catholic Church only offered mass in Latin and lots of people did not know how to speak it or read it, so people didn’t understand most of the mass. So, thanks to this, Luther started his movement in German, so people could understand what he was trying to share.
Even though Luther’s ideals were effectively spread by the printing press, still there were people that did not know how to read or write, and as Luther claimed for inclusion, he couldn’t only spread written propaganda, so he printed pamphlets with clear images, but most important, he used music as a way of propaganda to spread his ideals through Europe.
In the next few pages, I will be researching through data and literature with the renaissance as their main topic to find information that helps me determine to what extent music acted as propaganda for the protestant reformation, and the impact that this fact has carried with itself, being the main goal of this paper. It is important to make an emphasis in the humanist ideas that were in the mind of people in the renaissance and how they were...