The Corona Crisis and Music

During the current corona crisis music is often used to offer consolation. People in Siena were singing from their balconies, while Elton John hosted a relief concert to pay tribute to front line health care workers . A total sum of one million dollar was raised. In the Netherlands we also witnessed such initiatives: the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra (Rotterdam) played Alle Menschen werden Brüder. The home concert was praised by Oprah Winfrey.

From historical disaster research we know that during crises songs were often used to spread the news, offer consolation and create a sense of beloning together. Here is a selection of articles published on this theme from a Dutch perspective:

– Lotte Jensen, ‘Disaster upon disaster inflicted on the Dutch. Singing about natural disasters in the Netherlands, 1600-1900’, BMGN – Low Countries Historical Review 134 (2019) 2, 45-70. DOI:
– Lotte Jensen, ‘Zingen om het hoofd boven water te houden. Overstromingen en de Nederlandse liedcultuur‘, in: Tijdschrift voor waterstaatsgeschiedenis 28 (2019) 2, 78-91.
– Lotte Jensen, ‘Zingen over rampen. Het lied als nieuwsverspreider en troostverschaffer‘, in: Kleio 60 (november 2019), 4-9.