Portuguese Dictatorial Propaganda in the Periodical Press of the 1940s: Music Criticism, Composers and Ideology

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During the Estado Novo there was a clear investment in cultural initiatives. These were mainly related to the need, stated by the dictator himself, António Salazar, and António Ferro—the head of Portuguese propaganda during the most critical years of the dictatorship—to build a solid political regime, based on traditional, regional, and Catholic values, which were supposed to be recognized by both the Portuguese and abroad. The modus operandi of Ferro,s propaganda resulted in the appropriation—or even creation—and dissemination of artistic objects that even today are recognized as inherently Portuguese symbols. Music and music criticism had an important role in this propaganda: some of the music criticism regarding the events promoted by the dictatorship was written by composers and critics that took part in the dictatorship,s propaganda, while others were against the conservative right-wing policy. In a context marked by censorship and where—not surprisingly—most articles react positively to government policy, the intention of this article is to analyze the discourses of music criticism and the way the cultural and musical changes imposed by the Estado Novo were aired—supported and criticized—by some of the most influential periodicals, composers, and critics of the Portuguese twentieth century, at the same time taking into account obvious nuances with regard to political positioning.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)68-77
Number of pages10
JournalLietuvos Muzikologija
Issue number20
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • Estado Novo
  • Ideology
  • Music criticism
  • Portuguese music
  • Secretariat of National Propaganda


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