Music: A Subversive History, Gioia

Music: A Subversive History, Gioia


Author: Ted Gioia
Format: Hardcover, 528 pages
Publisher: Basic Books (2019)
ISBN: 9781541644366

Imagine a society in which the most important aspects of music were ignored because they were considered too dangerous or shameful or embarrassing. Even worse, imagine a musical culture where this has happened for centuries, with history books relying on censored or unreliable accounts deliberately hiding the real sources of creativity and innovation. As a result, visionary artists are slandered or ignored, while usurpers and pretenders are falsely honored.

Ted Gioia argues that we are victims of exactly this king of distortion. In this provocative book, he offers a subversive dismantling of thousands of years of music history. He casts a light on hidden currents and secret forces behind the decisive breakthroughs in music and shows how conventional accounts have obscured or falsified the origins of our most cherished songs.

Music: A Subversive History offers a bold alternative view of the story of music — focusing on the power of song as a force of social change and enchantment. It explores how musical revolutions get assimilated by the same mainstream institutions that previously attacked them and takes seriously aspects of song seldom discussed in music history books. The book is a result of more than a quarter century of research, covering the full history of music from Sappho to the Sex Pistols to Spotify and beyond.

About Ted Gioia:

Ted Gioia is a jazz pianist, award-winning music historian and the author of many books including Work Songs, How to Listen to Jazz and Love Songs. He previously served on the faculty of Stanford University’s Department of Music. Gioia is currently columnist for The Daily Beast and writes regularly on music, books and popular culture.

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