No living American musician was as involved in as many waves of protests as Pete Seeger — from the Depression to the McCarthy era to the Vietnam War to Earth Day — and that was just his first 50 years. Mr. Seeger, who died on Monday at the age of 94, spoke about using music for political ends in a 2009 interview with Alec Wilkinson, author of “The Protest Singer: An Intimate Portrait of Pete Seeger.” In the 1930s, Mr. Seeger said, he became aware that “the powers that be like to keep songs from questioning, asking questions which shouldn’t be asked.” Most of those songs, he noted, “were sentimental, beautiful, funny.” “One of the purposes of music is to help you forget your troubles; another, help you learn from your troubles (some do), and some will help you do something about your troubles.” Music, he said, can “help you understand the world.”

Watch a video of some of that interview and read the rest of the article here.