Joseph Goebbels: Nazi Rules for Jazz Performers

Joseph Goebbels, Minister for Propaganda in Hitler’s Third Reich (appointed 1933) had a way with guidelines. A well written article on Goebbels’ thoughts on jazz links below.

Editor’s note for the easily cognitively dissonanced: inclusion of this list in this blog does not represent approval of Minister Goebbels.

Josef Skvorecky on the Nazis’ Control-Freak Hatred of Jazz from The Atlantic January 3, 2012 by JJ Gould.

joseph_goebbels_quote

But if you want to get straight to the rules, Josef Skvorecky enumerates in the link above:

1. Pieces in foxtrot rhythm (so-called swing) are not to exceed 20% of the repertoire of light orchestras and dance bands.

2. In this so-called jazz type repertoire, preference is to be given to compositions in a major key and to lyrics expressing joy in life rather than Jewishly gloomy lyrics;

3. As to tempo, preference is also to be given to brisk compositions over slow ones (so-called blues); however, the pace must not exceed a certain degree of allegro, commensurate with the Aryan sense of discipline and moderation. On no account will Negroid excesses in tempo (so-called hot jazz) or in solo performances (so-called breaks) be tolerated;

4. So-called jazz compositions may contain at most 10% syncopation; the remainder must consist of a natural legato movement devoid of the hysterical rhythmic reverses characteristic of the barbarian races and conductive to dark instincts alien to the German people (so-called riffs);

5. Strictly prohibited is the use of instruments alien to the German spirit (so-called cowbells, flexatone, brushes, etc.) as well as all mutes which turn the noble sound of wind and brass instruments into a Jewish-Freemasonic yowl (so-called wa-wa, hat, etc.);

6. Also prohibited are so-called drum breaks longer than half a bar in four-quarter beat (except in stylized military marches);

7. The double bass must be played solely with the bow in so-called jazz compositions;

8. Plucking of the strings is prohibited, since it is damaging to the instrument and detrimental to Aryan musicality; if a so-called pizzicato effect is absolutely desirable for the character of the composition, strict care must be taken lest the string be allowed to patter on the sordine, which is henceforth forbidden;

9. Musicians are likewise forbidden to make vocal improvisations (so-called scat);

10. All light orchestras and dance bands are advised to restrict the use of saxophones of all keys and to substitute for them the violin-cello, the viola or possibly a suitable folk instrument.

joseph goebbels

4 thoughts on “Joseph Goebbels: Nazi Rules for Jazz Performers”

  1. Absolutely unbelievable! In what state of mind has one to be to come up with something like that.
    But it had its effect – there were a couple of Swiss bands quite succesful in Germany before the 2. World War. But eventually they had to return to Switzerland because they could not play their music anymore without getting into troubles with the authorities.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Jazztraveler,

      Germany was open to many cultural innovations such as jazz and Kaberet before the iron fist squeezed out what was termed entartete Kunst (degenerate art) from the perspective of the new and improved Reich. The years between 1933 and part of 1945 produced no art of any value. The latter portion of 1945 marked the Nullpunkt, where all points of artistic departure could begin again at zero.

      Like

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