Bacchanalian Chaos, Degenerate Hymns, Public Music Instruction, and the Discursive Fabrication of Whiteness



When, in 1844, Horace Mann recognized the potential of song as a vehicle for instructing the child in the proper attitudes toward nature, his fellow human beings, and the sick, he did so within the political terms of the secularism that replaced the churches as moral institutions. According to the role of instructional ballads such as “Love of School,” the schoolhouse becomes the biblical refuge from storms, where storms are, metaphorically, life’s troubles:

When old winter heaps the snow, We little heed his wrath: But boldly face the roaring blast … Till safe we take our seats at last Beside the schoolhouse fire. (Emerson 1857, 184)


Music Teacher Musical Taste School Music Inflected Language Public Music 
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© Ruth Gustafson 2009

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