Russian republic announces ban on music that is too slow or too fast

9 April 2024, 16:08

Performance by musicians from military orchestras in Moscow, Russia.


The southern Russian republic of Chechnya has announced that music that does not “conform to the Chechen mentality” will be banned from 1 June.

Governing officials in Chechnya, a conservative republic in the south of Russia, have announced a ban on music deemed by them to be the ‘wrong’ tempo.

In a statement released last week, the region’s ministry of culture said: “From now on all musical, vocal and choreographic works should correspond to a tempo of 80 to 116 beats per minute.”

The ban comes after the head of the republic, Ramzan Kadyrov, reportedly tasked his minister of culture Musa Dadayev with ensuring that the region’s musical enterprise “conform[s] to the Chechen mentality and sense of rhythm”, according to the Russian news agency TASS.

Read more: Iranian woman sings solo at historic mosque in brave defiance of security and music ban

Children from a traditional Chechen dance group perform ahead of a football match in the region’s capital Grozny.
Children from a traditional Chechen dance group perform ahead of a football match in the region’s capital Grozny.


The restrictive new legislation is part of a motion to preserve the traditional folk music of the majority-Muslim region and remove perceived Western influences.

“Borrowing musical culture from other peoples is inadmissible,” Dadayev is reported to have said. “We must bring to the people and to the future of our children the cultural heritage of the Chechen people. This includes the entire spectrum of moral and ethical standards of life for Chechens.”

The Moscow Times reported that the decision was reached after a meeting between the culture minister and local artists, who apparently have until 1 June to rewrite music to fit the new legal parameters. “Otherwise,” the ministry wrote on Telegram, “they would not be allowed for public performance.”

Read more: Taliban burns musical instruments in bonfire, declaring ‘music causes moral corruption’

Storming Rachmaninov Piano Concerto No. 2 finale at the Royal Albert Hall | Classic FM

While the ban may be aimed at contemporary electronic music such as techno or house, many beloved classical pieces by some of Russia’s most famous composers also fall foul of the new law.

In Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto No.2, much of the first movement and the entirety of the second would be deemed too slow for public performance, in the eyes of the Chechen government.

That leaves only the final movement, marked at exactly 116 beats per minute by the composer for the main theme, and with plenty of tempo changes that would take it to both extremes of the law.

As yet, it’s not clear how the law will be policed, or if allowances will be made for particular works or for variations in live performance.

Latest news
Related news