Music has been steadily rising up the historical agenda, a product of the emergence of sound studies, the history of the senses, and a mood of interdisciplinary curiosity. This introductory article offers a critical review of how the relationship between music and politics has featured in extant historical writing, from classic works of political history to the most recent scholarship. It begins by evaluating different approaches that historians have taken to music, summarizes the important shifts in method that have recently taken place, and advocates for a performance-centered, contextualized framework that is attentive to the distinctive features of music as a medium. The second half examines avenues for future research into the historical connections between music and politics, focusing on four thematic areas—the body, emotions, space, and memory—and closes with some overarching reflections on music's use as a tool of power, as well as a challenge to it. Although for reasons of cohesion, this short article focuses primarily on scholarship on Britain and Ireland in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, its discussion of theory and methods is intended to be applicable to the study of music and political culture across a broad range of periods and geographies.