The Washington Post

Link: Music, or muzak, in public: crime deterrent, elitist territory-marking, or just plain annoying?

Does classical music played in public spaces really act to cut down on crime? Is it really used to drive away the homeless? Do students really regard it as punishment? And just what kind of “classical music” are we talking about here? I took on a number of these questions in my Sunday piece Blasting Mozart to drive criminals away. The article got a lot of comments, including from at least one person who had used classical music in just this fashion. Others suggested that any music might have the same effect, which raises interesting questions about music and context.

One could also submit that such use of music weeds the musical out from the unmusical; those who can merely tune out the sound as background music are unaffected.

I submit that polka music might also effectively drive away loiterers. Other suggestions?

Anne Midgette came to the Washington Post in 2008, when she consolidated her various cultural interests under the single title of chief classical music critic. She blogs at The Classical Beat.


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