[JPL] Nazi rules for jazz performers

Dr. Jazz drjazz at drjazz.com
Sun Mar 11 23:11:06 EDT 2012


Nazi rules for jazz performers

By Cory Doctorow at 10:54 pm Saturday, Mar 10

Famed Czech radical Josef Skvorecky recently died at 87 in his adopted 
land of Canada. In the Atlantic, JJ Gould remembers Skvorecky through 
his memoirs, including a detailed list of the rules for jazz performers 
during the Nazi occupation. The Reich's Gauleiter for the Nazi 
Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia issued a 10-point regulation that 
Gould calls "the single most remarkable example of 20th-century 
totalitarian invective against jazz."

     1 Pieces in foxtrot rhythm (so-called swing) are not to exceed 20% 
of the repertoires 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 
     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.

Josef Skvorecky on the Nazis' Control-Freak Hatred of Jazz (via JWZ)

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