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    Plough Quarterly No. 31: Why We Make Music

    Spring 2022

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    About This Issue

    In many places today, a culture of singing and making music remains robust, despite pressure from the commercial music industry. Or it was until the Covid pandemic hit and we glimpsed what a world without communal music-making could be like. According to Plato, virtuous music is vital for building a virtuous community. Jewish and Christian traditions take this insight even further: good communal music shapes and builds up the people of God. So how can we choose good music and avoid the bad? The sheer ubiquity of music available for consumption – its presence as a near-constant soundtrack to our daily lives – poses a hazard. Digital music on tap is a temptation to chronic distraction of the soul, to a habit of superficiality and non-attention. Fortunately, the remedy is straightforward: spend less time consuming prepackaged tunes and more time making music. This will be doubly rewarding if done with others – singing with one’s family, singing in church, playing in a string quartet, starting a regular jam session. If personal media players tend to cut us off from the physical presence of others, sharing in good music together breaks the spell of isolation and disembodiment. It builds friendship and community.

    Issue 31 Playlist

    Get a taste of the music in the new issue of Plough. From gospel music to war requiems to Dolly Parton, this playlist will make your heart sing.