Citation Smyth J (2018) Music, emotion and remembrance: unveiling memorials to the fallen of the First World War in Scotland. Social History, 43 (4), pp. 435-454. https://doi.org/10.1080/03071022.2018.1520432
Abstract The unveiling of memorials to those who fell in World War One were highly solemn, dramatic and emotional events. Yet while much attention has been given by historians to memorials and the purposes behind memorialisation, there has been less discussion of just how the feelings of the public were stimulated and provoked. Most accounts concentrate on the aesthetics and symbolism of the monuments themselves, and the speeches given by the officiating parties and individuals at unveilings. In doing so, however, they miss what was perhaps the most important emotional aspect of these ceremonies; music. This article seeks to go beyond the words spoken at unveilings and examines the role of music in establishing both the mood of the moment and the public’s attachment to the memorials. The focus is on the major city memorials of Scotland plus the National Memorial at Edinburgh Castle and particular significance is given to the bagpipes and Scotland’s most famous lament, ‘The Flowers of the Forest’.
Keywords Memorials; First World War; music; emotion; Scotland