Preserving popular music heritage in Hungary

Authored by: Emília Barna

The Routledge Companion to Popular Music History and Heritage

Print publication date:  May  2018
Online publication date:  May  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138237636
eBook ISBN: 9781315299310
Adobe ISBN:


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This chapter offers a critical overview of current discourses, practices and institutions around the preservation of popular music history and heritage in Hungary. I look at, firstly, the heritage sub-programme of the Cseh Tamás Programme as an example of a state-funded popular music heritage initiative, which involves events such as a talk series, a film club, conferences, the unveiling of plaques commemorating popular musicians and places, published books, online sources of oral history, as well as an interactive pop history ‘walk’ supported by a mobile phone application. Secondly, the Budapest Rock Hall of Fame, which houses a collection open to the public and is financed and maintained through individual donations, sponsorship, voluntary work and, more recently, the Cseh Tamás Programme itself. Through these examples, I argue that certain styles, namely those fitting within a ‘rockist’ aesthetic, have appeared as more worthy of representation and preservation than others, such as (working class) punk or pop. I also point to the construction of popular music ‘history’ in heritage discourse as beginning with the 1960s and lasting up until the 1989–1990 turn, with the post-socialist period being constructed as ‘present’ and therefore outside of the scope of heritage initiatives.

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