Musical Rhetoric: Sources

Suzanne Langer has described music as virtual emotion. While the connection between music and rhetorical forms is as ancient as rhetoric, this bibliography may include selected general works on music of interest to rhetoricians, aims to be comprehensive on rhetorical criticism of musical texts, and is especially interested in the role music has played in American public discourse. For sources on Music and Protest see


Bartleet, Brydie-Leigh, and Lee Higgins, eds. The Oxford Handbook of Community Music. New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2018.

Beebee, Thomas O. "Ballad of the Apocalypse: Another Look at Bob Dylan's 'Hard Rain'." Text & Performance Quarterly 11 (1991): 18-34.

Beghin, Tom and Sander M. Goldberg. Haydn and the Performance of Rhetoric. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2007.

Bonds, Mark Evan. Music as Thought : Listening to the Symphony in the Age of Beethoven Princeton, N.J: Princeton University Press, 2006.

Bonds, Mark Evan. The Beethoven Syndrome : Hearing Music as Autobiography. New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2020.

Borgerding, Todd. “Preachers, ‘Pronunciatio,’ and Music: Hearing Rhetoric in Renaissance Sacred Polyphony.” The Musical quarterly 82, no. 3/4 (1998): 586–598.

Brown, Matthew P. "Funk Music as Genre: Black Aesthetics, Apocalyptic Thinking and Urban Protest in Post-1965 African-American Pop." Cultural Studies 8 (1994): 484- .

Brigance, Linda C. "Persuasion And Protest Music." Communication Teacher 16/3 (2002): 7-9.

Campbell, Kermit Ernest. Gettin’ Our Groove on : Rhetoric, Language, and Literacy for the Hip Hop Generation. Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 2005.

Carruthers, Mary J. Rhetoric Beyond Words : Delight and Persuasion in the Arts of the Middle Ages. Cambridge, UK ;: Cambridge University Press, 2010.

Carter, David A. "The Industrial Workers of the World and the Rhetoric of Song." Quarterly Journal of Speech 66 (1980): 365-375.

Clark, Gregory. Clark, Gregory. Civic Jazz: American Music and Kenneth Burke on the Art of Getting Along. The University of Chicago Press, 2015.

Clarke, Martin, ed. Music and Theology in Nineteenth-Century Britain. Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2012.

Cummings, Melbourne S., and Abhik Roy. "Manifestations of Afrocentricity in Rap Music." Howard Journal of Communications 13 (2002) 59-76.

Danuser, Hermann. "Was bedeutet in der Musik rhetorische Form?" Archiv Für Musikwissenschaft 69, no. 1 (2012): 13-29. [].

Denisoff, R. Serge. Sing a Sing of Social Significance. Bowling Green: Bowling Green State UP, 1983.

Denisoff, R. Serge, and Mark H. Levine. "The Popular Protest Song: The Case of 'Eve Of Destruction'" Public Opinion Quarterly 35 (1971): 117-122.

Dewberry, David R, and Jonathan H Millen. “Music as Rhetoric: Popular Music in Presidential Campaigns.” Atlantic journal of communication 22, no. 2 (2014): 81–92.

Dyck, Kirsten. Reichsrock : the International Web of White-Power and Neo-Nazi Hate Music. New Brunswick, New Jersey ;: Rutgers University Press, 2017.

Enders, Jody. “Music, Delivery, and the Rhetoric of Memory in Guillaume de Machaut’s Remède de Fortune.” PMLA : Publications of the Modern Language Association of America 107, no. 3 (1992): 450–464.

Esteve-Faubel, José María, Tania Josephine Martin, and Rosa Pilar Esteve-Faubel. “Investigating Press Coverage of Protest Songs During the 2003 Iraq War.” SAGE open 10.4 (2020): n. pag. Web.

Francesconi, Robert. "Free Jazz and Black Nationalism: A Rhetoric of Musical Style." Critical Studies in Mass Communication 3 (1986): 36-49.

Gibson, Jonathan. “‘A Kind of Eloquence Even in Music’: Embracing Different Rhetorics in Late Seventeenth-Century France.” The Journal of musicology (St. Joseph, Mich.) 25, no. 4 (2008): 394–433.

Gonzalez, Alberto, and John J. Makay. "Rhetorical Ascription and the Gospel According To Dylan." Quarterly Journal of Speech 69 (1983): 1- .

Gorbman, Claudia. “Aesthetics and Rhetoric.” American music (Champaign, Ill.) 22, no. 1 (2004): 14–26.

Graves, Michael P. More than precious memories : the rhetoric of Southern gospel music. Macon, GA: Mercer University Press, 2004.

Gregg, Richard B. "The Ego-Function of the Rhetoric of Protest." Philosophy & Rhetoric 4 (1971): 71-91.

Griffin, Christine. "On Music, Politics, and Scholarship." Rhetoric, Ideology and Social Psychology: Essays in Honour of Michael Billig. Edited by Charles Antaki, Susan Condor, and Michael Billig. London : Routledge, 2014., pp. 151-163.

Hatch, John B. “‘Accidental Racist’: Stumbling Through the Motions of Racial Reconciliation.” Communication quarterly 64, no. 1 (2016): 93–118.

Haycock, John. “Protest Music as Adult Education and Learning for Social Change : A Theorisation of a Public Pedagogy of Protest Music.” Australian journal of adult learning 55.3 (2015): 423–442. Print.

Holmberg, Carl Bryan. "Toward the Rhetoric of Music: Dixie." Southern Speech Communication Journal 51 (1985):

Hallmark, Rufus. “The Literary and Musical Rhetoric of Apostrophe in Winterreise.” 19th Century Music, vol. 35, no. 1, University of California Press, July 2011, pp. 3–90.

Irvine, James R., and Walter G. Kirkpatrick. "The Musical Form in Rhetorical Exchange: Theoretical Considerations." Quarterly Journal of Speech 58 (1972): 272- .

Jakes, Kelly. "La France en Chantant: The Rhetorical Construction of French Identity in Songs of the Resistance Movement." Quarterly Journal of Speech 99/3 (2013): 317-340.

Jakes, Kelly. Strains of Dissent : Popular Music and Everyday Resistance in WWII France, 1940-1945. East Lansing: Michigan State University Press, 2019.

Jensen, H. James. Signs and Meaning in Eighteenth-Century Art : Epistemology, Rhetoric, Painting, Poesy, Music, Dramatic Performance, and G.F. Handel. New York: Peter Lang, 1997.

Jones, Catherine. Literature and Music in the Atlantic World, 1767-1867. 1st ed. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2014.

Keller, Hermann. Phrasing and articulation : a contribution to a rhetoric of music, with 152 musical examples. New York: Norton, 1973.

Kim, Hyun-Ah. “Music, Rhetoric, and the Edification of the Church in the Reformation: The Humanist Reconstruction of Modulata Recitatio.” Journal of early modern christianity 4, no. 1 (2017): 1–20.

King, Stephen A. "The Co-optation of a 'Revolution': Rastafari, Reggae, and the Rhetoric of Social Control." Howard Journal of Communications 10 (1999): .

King, Stephen A., Barry T. Bays, and P. Rene. Foster. Reggae, Rastafari, and the Rhetoric of Social Control. Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 2002.

Knupp, Ralph E. "A Time For Every Purpose Under Heaven: Rhetorical Dimensions Of Protest Music." Southern Speech Communication Journal 46 (1981): 377-389.

Koptak, Paul E. 2017. “‘I’m On My Long Journey Home’: Rhetorical Identification in the Bluegrass Gospel Singing of Ralph Stanley and the Stanley Brothers.” Res Rhetorica, no. 2 (April): 28–44. doi:10.29107/rr2017.2.3.

Kosokoff, Stephen, and Carl W. Carmichael. "The Rhetoric of Protest: Song, Speech, and Attitude Change." Southern Speech Communication Journal 35 (1970): 295-302.

Langer, Suzanne K. Feeling and Form. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1953.

LeCoat, Gerard G. "Music and the Three Appeals of Classical Rhetoric." Quarterly Journal of Speech 62 (1976): 157-166.

Lynch, Christopher. "Ritual Transformation Through Michael Jackson's Music Video." Journal of Communication Inquiry 25 (2001): .

Makay, John J., and Alberto Gonzalez. "Dylan's Biographical Rhetoric and the Myth of the Outlaw Hero." Southern Speech Communication Journal 52 (1987): .

Malinowitz, Harriet. “Textual Trouble in River City: Literacy, Rhetoric, and Consumerism in the Music Man.” College English 62, no. 1 (1999): 58–82.

Mariani, Angela. Improvisation and Inventio in the Performance of Medieval Music : a Practical Approach. New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2017.

Marrington, Mark. "Mixing Metaphors: Aesthetics, Mediation, and the Rhetoric of Sound Mixing." Mixing Music. Edited by Russ Hepworth-Sawyer and Jay Hodgson. New York : Routledge, 2017, pp. 199-215.

Matula, Theodore. "Contextualizing Musical Rhetoric: A Critical Reading Of The Pixies' 'Rock Music'." Communication Studies 51 (2000): 218-237.

McClelland, John. "Music with Words: Semiotic / Rhetoric." Rhetorica 8/3 (1990): 187-211.

McClendon, Aaron D. "Sounds of Sympathy: William Wells Brown's "Anti-Slavery Harp", Abolition, and the Culture of Early and Antebellum American Song." African American Review 47, no. 1 (2014): 83-100. [].

Mohrmann, G. P, and F. Eugene Scott. "Popular Music and World War II: The Rhetoric of Continuation." Quarterly Journal of Speech 62 (1976): 145-156.

Móricz, Klára. Jewish Identities Nationalism, Racism, and Utopianism in Twentieth-Century Music. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2008.

Palisca, Claude V. Music and Ideas in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries. Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 2006.

Palmer, David L. "Virtuosity as Rhetoric: Agency and Transformation in Paganini's Mastery of the Violin." Quarterly Journal of Speech 84 (1998): 341-357.

Peddie, Ian. The Resisting Muse : Popular Music and Social Protest. Aldershot, England : Ashgate, 2006.

Rockwell, Joti. “What Is Bluegrass Anyway? Category Formation, Debate and the Framing
of Musical Genre.” Popular Music, vol. 31, no. 3, 2012, pp. 363–81. JSTOR, A

Rojas, Eunice, and Lindsay Michie Eades, eds. Sounds of Resistance: the Role of Music in Multicultural Activism. Santa Barbara, Calif: Praeger, 2013.

Sanger, Kerran L. "Functions of Freedom Singing in the Civil Rights Movement: The Activists' Implicit Rhetorical Theory." Howard Journal of Communications 8 (1997): 179-195.

Schab, Alon. The Sonatas of Henry Purcell : Rhetoric and Reversal. Melton: University of Rochester Press, 2018.

Sellnow, Deanna D. "Music as Persuasion: Refuting Hegemonic Masculinity in 'He Thinks He'll Keep Her'." Women's Studies in Communication 22 (1999): 66-84.

Sellnow, Deanna, and Timothy Sellnow. "The 'Illusion of Life' Rhetorical Perspective: An Integrated Approach to the Study of Music as Communication." Critical Studies in Media Communication 18 (2001): 395-415.

Shell, Marc. Talking the Walk & Walking the Talk : a Rhetoric of Rhythm. New York: Fordham University Press, 2015.

Smith, L. Mayne. “An Introduction to Bluegrass.” The Journal of American Folklore, vol. 78,
no. 309, 1965, pp. 245–56. JSTOR,

Vatri, A. "Between Song and Prose: The Meaning(s) of Harmonia in Aristotle's Rhetoric and Poetics." Rhetorica, vol. 34, no. 4, 2016, pp. 372-392.

Vickers, Brian. "Figures of Rhetoric / Figures of Music?" Rhetorica 2/1 (1984): 1-44.

Walser, Robert. “Rhythm, Rhyme, and Rhetoric in the Music of Public Enemy.” Ethnomusicology 39, no. 2 (1995): 193–217.

Way, Lyndon C. S. "Protest Music, Populism,Politics And Authenticity." Journal of Language & Politics 15/4 (2016): 422-445.

Wolff, William I. Bruce Springsteen and popular music : rhetoric, social consciousness, and contemporary culture. Routledge, 2018.

Zolten, J. Jerome. "Media-Driven Evolution of the African American Hard Gospel Style as a Rhetorical Response to Hard Times." Howard Journal of Communications 7 (1996): 185- .

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