Webster defines music to be "a : the science or art of ordering tones or sounds in succession, in combination, and in temporal relationships to produce a composition having unity and continuity b : vocal, instrumental, or mechanical sounds having rhythm, melody, or harmony," and defines censorship as "examining in order to suppress or delete anything considered objectionable". Therefore music censorship is the attempt to suppress or change any part of music that seems objectionable to a certain group of people. Throughout history every advancement in music is met with dispute. Bach's complex harmonies and counter points, Jazz, and Rock "n" Roll have all been met with opposition that it has had to break through. It is the same with some of today's misinterpreted and misunderstood music(Lombardi).
The history of censorship has been long in the making. The enlightenment in Europe was a time of intellectual stimulation and broadening of though, which migrated to the newly forming United States. It was in this time period that censorship by the government was put to question. People saw the futility of censorship in a free society. Heroic figures from the 18th century including Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, and James Madison all saw censorship as an enemy during the revolution saying " censorship reflects a superstitious and ignorant past .and inhibits social and scientific progress". The framers of the constitution wanted to keep speech and press free, but despite these Enlightenment ideas embodied in the constitution censorship still prevailed. (Garry) .
In his book An American Paradox, Censorship in a Nation of Free speech, Patrick Garry tells examples of when censorship failed and to the favor of the opposition. In the first example Garry tells of how in 1798 John Adams imposed a law forbidding criticism of the government. This law was meant to silence the voice of the opposing party, Thomas Jefferson and the democratic-republicans.