World War 1 Impact on the Art of the Century Essay

The record industry appeared in the early decades of the twentieth century. Until that time the music publishers were in the lead of the music industry. The music publishers were to the people to create the songbooks that collected the favorite songs of the time, as well as traditional and religious songs. At the beginning of the twentieth-century transistor technology (which later assisted the development of the radio) was invented and the music industry changed.

During the early years, there was a group of music publishers who cooperated with songwriters and popularized songs via distributing sheet music. However, these times writers’ work was often, if not always, abused. Victor Herbert who worked as a composer of operas, in 1914 founded ASCAP (the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers) tried to protect the copyrighted musical compositions of its members. For radio, this meant to ensure that writers of the original works were paid-off appropriately when their works were distributed as sheet music.

Over the time radio went from singers performing for free to performers demanding a fee to perform on specific radio broadcasts and that is where the role of the publisher changed. Now they began matching a song with a performer who could interpret the song successfully. Unfortunately, the performer did not receive any royalties associated with the broadcast of songs over the radio. The next step for music publishers was to find performers who could “sell” the song.

From now along the entire industry started developing around the writing of songs and the performers “selling” them. Performers like Bing Crosby (who made Irving Berlin’s “White Christmas” famous), popularized these songs on their radio broadcasts. They were being paid for their hosting duties, but never received the performance royalties.

Throughout the history, music was often written, played and popularised not only for the entertainment. It had always had a significant impact on masses which makes it an excellent tool for conveying the message. Considering that, music was often used as propaganda. During the World War 1 music was a prominent feature on the home fronts and the battlefields. At this time, many families had a piano at home, and at least one member of the family knew how to play it, so that provided entertainment and socialization. During the World War 1 music was used mainly to inspire loyalty and a sense of patriotism in listeners, and occasionally to shame those who did not support the war. Composers and publishers were ready to cooperate and adopted these new motifs of music. They often wrote about their personal wartime experiences and sentiments. Music distributed during the World War 1 significantly influenced political and social attitudes as it was an effective propaganda tool for the governments and citizens.

Between 1914 and 1919 approximately 350,600 American patriotic songs were written and about 7,300 of them were published. Songs like When the Lusitania Went Down and Over There were to prepare the citizens for the entry in the World War. The result was visible. After these songs being written, many signed up for the army to go overseas, ready to fight the “Huns.” Some songs were written about the battles that had been fought. There were also anti-war propaganda songs that were to represent “the voice of motherhood” such as Don’t Take my Darling Away. The songs written during this period caught their audience easily and easy to remember.

The Great War was a changing moment in European and world history. However, it also widely affected cultural and literary feeling of the following generation. The evolution of “modernism”(a cultural and literary movement that took place in the early-20th century) was bound up with the shock of the World War 1.

Modernism was attempting to find new ways of experiencing and identifying, ways that would rank first the individual mind and push the limits of the language and its form.

Modernism was focusing on experimentation and trying something new, completely different from traditional structures of the 19th-century realism. Poets such as TS Eliot and Ezra Pound and such writers as DH Lawrence and Virginia Woolf were not fully sure what they were trying to achieve but admitted that they knew they were a part of this movement. By the 1920s modernism reached its zenith when the key works such as Eliot’s The Waste Land (1922) and Joyce’s Ulysses (1922) were published.

All in all, Modernism was reflected not only in literature but also in other art forms such as music and art. In the visual arts, Kandinsky, Matisse, and Picasso were the ones to explore the notion form and new ways of representation in the early 20th century. The linguistic and representational ingenuity of modernism was based on the experience of war, as the authors tried to form a new perspective of the disappointment and destruction of the Great War.

Works cited

Lynch, Suzanne. Out of the wasteland: the first World War and modernism. The Irish Times 2015. Available from

Myers, Gary & Howard, George. The Future of Music: Reconfiguring Public Performance Rights. Journal of Intellectual Property Law, 2010. 17, 2. Available from

The terms offer and acceptance. (2016, May 17). Retrieved from

[Accessed: October 27, 2021]

"The terms offer and acceptance.", 17 May 2016.

[Accessed: October 27, 2021] (2016) The terms offer and acceptance [Online].
Available at:

[Accessed: October 27, 2021]

"The terms offer and acceptance.", 17 May 2016

[Accessed: October 27, 2021]

"The terms offer and acceptance.", 17 May 2016

[Accessed: October 27, 2021]

"The terms offer and acceptance.", 17 May 2016

[Accessed: October 27, 2021]

"The terms offer and acceptance.", 17 May 2016

[Accessed: October 27, 2021]
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