[Dixielandjazz] Nazi Dance Band Rules - - A Fake?
Stephen G Barbone
barbonestreet at earthlink.net
Sun Aug 23 07:13:02 PDT 2009
Those of us who read, and believed the so called "Nazi Dance Band
Rules" posted a time or two in the past, may be interested in the
below blog. Like so many of the things we get over the internet, the
rules are, according to this researcher, not true. How easily we are
fooled these days where no one is concerned about logic or truth. How
many of us took these rules seriously?
Fiction: Nazi Germany’s Dance Band Rules
August 16, 2009 — irom
When I first published this post yesterday (Sun. 8/16) I did so with
some reservation, pointing out that these were “alleged to be actual
rules handed out… by the German Government in 1940.” But I had my
doubts when I discovered they’d been floating around the internet for
a while, with no one seeming to affirm their authenticity or their
fraudulence, one way or the other. So I labeled it “Humor (?). This
morning I received a message from my Russian friend and jazz expert,
Cyril Moshkow, clarifying everything. (More information about Cyril
and his excellent jazz magazine and website can be accessed here:
Cyril Moshkow.) Here’ s Cyril’s explanation about the “Dance Band
“It is not exactly humor -- it is a part of Czech fiction writer
Joseph Škvorecký’s story “Eine Kleine Jazzmusik”, published in 1966.
Everybody in 1960s Europe knew it was a fake, expecially because of
the “Reischmusikfuehrer’s” first and last name (which sounds too
unnaturally much Hitler Era-ish — well, as if an imaginary U.S.
functionary from the same time were called Roosevelt Newdeal.) But
then, as the 1960s in their order became history, this feeling of on-
purpose exaggeration somehow vanished, and newer generations of
writers now meet this excerpt, which since the arrival of the Internet
became a popular mega-quotation, now lives its own life; its readers,
unaware of its being part of a certain writer’s fiction story (and, I
am afraid, of the very existence of that certain writer,) now believe
it to be a genuine Nazi document. Which only proves that Joseph
Škvorecký (b.1924) is a very gifted writer. BTW he spent much of his
life in Canada, wrote about jazz, was a Guggenheim Fellow and a Fellow
of the Royal Society of Canada, and was nominated for the Nobel Prize
in 1982 (but not awarded it.)” – Cyril Moshkow
That clarification made, I’m leaving the post here — properly re-
labeled — as an entertaining sample of jazz fiction from a writer
whose work I didn’t know. And, after looking into Skvorecky’s bio, his
fascination with jazz and the list of his often jazz-tinged novels and
short stories, I’m delighted that this chance episode has introduced
me — and hopefully those of you who read this blog — to the work of a
compelling, and too little known author.
To read further comments on the Nazi Germany Dance Band Rules, click
- Don Heckman
Nazi Germany’s Dance Band Rules of 1940
1. In the repertoire of light orchestras and dance bands, pieces in
fox-trot rhythm (so-called swing) are not to exceed 20%.
2. In the repertoire of this so-called jazz type, preference is to be
given to compositions in a major key and to lyrics expressing joy in
life (’Kraft durch Freude’), rather than Jewishly gloomy lyrics.
3. As to the tempo, too, preference is to be given to brisk
compositions as opposed to slow ones (so-called blues); however, the
pace must not exceed a certain degree of allegro commensurate with the
Aryan sense for discipline and moderation. On no account will Negroid
excesses in tempo (so-called hot jazz) be permitted, or in solo
performances (so-called breaks).
4. So-called jazz compositions may contain at the most 10%
syncopation; the remainder must form a natural legato movement devoid
of hysterical rhythmic references characteristic of the music of the
barbarian races and conducive to dark instincts alien to the German
people so-called ‘riffs’).
5. Strictly forbidden is the use of instruments alien to the German
spirit (e.g. so-called cowbells, flex-a-tone, brushes, etc.) as well
as all mutes which turn the noble sound of brass-wind instruments into
a Jewish-Freemasonic yell (so-called wa-wa, in hat, etc.).
6. 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;
plucking of 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, let strict care be taken lest the string is allowed to
patter on the sordine, which is henceforth forbidden.
8. Provocative rising to one’s feet during solo performance is
9. Musicians are likewise forbidden to make vocal improvisations (so-
10. All light orchestras and dance bands are advised to restrict the
use of saxophones of all keys and to substitute for them violin-celli,
violas, or possibly a suitable folk instrument.
Baldur von Blodheim
Reichsmusicfuhrer und Oberscharfuhrer SS
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