HOSTS- Jeremy Burns, Matthew Scott Phillips


TYPE- History




BUMPER MUSIC- "The Two Minute Battle"  (Area 47 Music)

ANNOUNCER- Mike Cunliffe


Musical instruments, compositions and techniques have served many purposes. Some were for communication, some for support and some for intimidation and the extraction of information. On this episode, we discuss music and war, from some of the earliest accounts to the modern era!


-In The Book of Joshua, chapter 6, the walls of Jericho were said to benbrought down by the constant marching of the Israelites, around the wall, for 7 days. On the 7th day, they would blow their horns and the people would shout along.


"And it shall be, that when they make a long blast with the ram's horn, and when ye hear the sound of the horn, all the people shall shout with a great shout; and the wall of the city shall fall down flat, and the people shall go up every man straight before him." (Joshua 6:5)


-Scholars mostly agree that there’s little historical accuracy in the Book of Joshua. The tumbling walls may have just referred to the crumbling resistance of the Canaanite army within these walls. This story was thought to be the product of propaganda for the Kingdom of Judah. But, for reference, some believe this to be written during the later reign of King Josiah (640-609 BCE).


-The presence of instruments in Ancient Greece can be traced as far back as the Neolithic Period.

-Flutes made out of bone have been dated in western Macedonia, from 4000 BCE, and even as early as 5000 BCE in Thessaly.

-There is also evidence that suggest some form of written music that dates as far back as the Bronze Age (3000-1000 BCE).


-The Ancient Greek considered music a gift from the gods. They associated the stringed lyre with Hermes (mainly known as the messenger god). His son, Pan (patron of shepherds) was very much associated with music and the invention of the syrinx (pan pipes). Athena (godess of wisdom) gave birth to the Aulos, or flute (often depicted as double reeded). Orpheus was known to be accomplished with the lyre. Dionysus was the guitar god (the kythara).


-Communication is, and was, very important on the battlefield. In the Spartan military (490-420 BCE) the cooks and the musicians were regarded importantly enough to be chosen by lineage. During these times, woodwinds were used to signal the troops and keep their formations in order. The first findings of these were made of bone. Over time, they were eventually made of wood, ivory and metal. These instruments were used to organize (on the battle field) and to rally the troops and incite patriotism (back at camp). The musicians in these scenarios would also play in accompaniment along with poems and odes of past heroes.


-Eventually, earlier versions of horns and tubas came into play. One we see a lot in Ancient Greek and Roman art is the SALPINX (a long, straight, bassy trumpet that bells out at the end for more projection). Another one, initially used by the Roman military, was the Cornu. This was around 3 meters long and curved into a G shape.  A very similar instrument, the Buccina, was also used by the Roman armies. These types of horns would later reincarnate as the “Tuba curva” during the French Revolution (late 18th Century). Even today, the horn is used to suggest bravery, strength, resolve, and pride.


-There are records showing that drums were used in China during the Battle of Qi and Lu, in 684 BCE.


-There are also examples of early percussion used the in battle fields of Africa, the Middle East and India.


-The Serer people of West Africa used the Junjung drum as a war drum.


-The Asian cultures used drums to accompany martial arts training exercises. Drums were also used as a means of intimidation on the battle field.

-The ancient Celtic armies were known, early on, for their shock and awe tactics. They would storm their opponents to the accompaniment of drums, horns and bagpipes.

-During the Crusades (1095 - 1291 CE) the European armies adopted drums on the battlefield after witnessing them abroad. Drums then made their way into commonplace all throughout the Western armies. This also contributed to their popularity within the civilian population.

-By the 18th Century, drums took their place in what was known as “linear warfare” in the European armies. The firing and reloading of muskets were all done in sync. Because these maneuvers had to be precise, drums were used to keep them all in step.

-The Civil War in the US (1861-1865) brought fame and popularity to the drummer boy. These boys were too young to fight but their steady drum beats kept the infantry marching in time and sent signals to communcate tactics. They were also expected to act as assistant field medics for the injured. The most famous of these was a runaway from Ohio, Johnny Clem (aka Johnny Shiloh).  At 9 years old, he was only 1/2 the qualifying age. Some Michigan troops adopted him as a mascot and drummer boy. By 11, he was given a smaller musket and allowed to enlist. He retired in 1915.


-On Christmas Day, 1989, Manuel Noriega was holed up in the Vatican embassy in Panama  He was facing an indictment from the US on drug-trafficking. The US forces blasted rock music at the embassy with loud speaker, including The Clash (I Fought the Law), Van Halen (Panama) and U2 (All I Want Is You). After three days, Noriega surrendered.

-During the seizing of the Branch Davidian complex in Feb ’93. The followers of David Koresh were inundated with pop music, including Nancy Sinatra (These Boots Were Made For Walkin') as well as the sound recordings of jets flying overhead, Tibetan chants and the sounds of rabbits being slaughtered.


-The US forces blasted, on loud speakers, Metallica and Thin Lizzy interlaced with threats to the Taliban resistance in Afghanistan, 2010. According to one US soldier, “there are no obscenities. But we tell them they’re gonna die”.


-In 2003, Rick Hoffman VP of the Psy Ops Veterans Association claimed that there are no long lasting effects that result from this tactic. Those who were subjected to this tactic disagree!