Nazi rules for jazz performers

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 tolerated; 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.);

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