Music
A preeminent music historian and critic presents a global history of music from the bottom upHistories of music overwhelmingly suppress stories of the outsiders and rebels who created musical revolutions and instead celebrate the mainstream assimilators who borrowed innovations, diluted their impact, and disguised their sources. In Music: A Subversive History, historian Ted Gioia reclaims the story of music for the riffraff, insurgents, and provocateurs.Gioia tells a four-thousand-year history of music as a global source of power, change, and upheaval. He shows how social outcasts have repeatedly become trailblazers of musical expression: slaves and their descendants, for instance, have repeatedly reinvented music, from ancient times all the way to the jazz, reggae, and hip-hop sounds of the current day.Music: A Subversive History is essential reading for anyone interested in the meaning of music, from Sappho to the Sex Pistols to Spotify.

Music Details

TitleMusic
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseOct 15th, 2019
PublisherBasic Books/Hachette Book Group, Inc.
ISBN-139781541644366
Rating
GenreMusic, History, Nonfiction, Politics, Art

Music Review

  • J Earl
    January 1, 1970
    Music: A Subversive History by Ted Gioia started out by surprising me and ended up by blowing me away. Not what I had expected, as in: much more than I expected.I love to read music histories. Most tend to be about a specific genre, maybe about an era, sometimes about an instrument. The few I have read that are a history of music as a whole still tend to be selective with what is considered music (or at least what they deem worthy of inclusion) and/or limited by a broad style (western vs Music: A Subversive History by Ted Gioia started out by surprising me and ended up by blowing me away. Not what I had expected, as in: much more than I expected.I love to read music histories. Most tend to be about a specific genre, maybe about an era, sometimes about an instrument. The few I have read that are a history of music as a whole still tend to be selective with what is considered music (or at least what they deem worthy of inclusion) and/or limited by a broad style (western vs eastern; tonal vs atonal). This book not only covers all of these but goes so far as to start with the Big Bang. Yes, that Big Bang.The breadth of topics covered through the portal of music and musicality is breathtaking. From prehistoric ideas of how music might have been used through various institutional attempts to control and limit music to the idea of music as primarily entertainment divorced from any practical purpose, Gioia cuts a wide path through not just music history but human history.He manages to not only cover all of this information but make some arguments for how music has been pivotal in history itself and even some insight into specific musicians (Beethoven, Parker, etc). I think because of the wide sweep through history this book will appeal to a wide range of readers, though admittedly certain sections may be more appealing than others. For scholars in various disciplines this may well indicate how music (broadly defined) might be incorporated into future research. For casual readers I think Gioia has managed to not get bogged down in any one area or time so that even if your primary interest might be a specific time the rest of the book will still interest you. And the early points he makes serve quite often as part of the foundation for later discussions in the book, so reading every section, even if not your main interest area, is highly recommended.While acknowledging that there will no doubt be some people who don't want this exhaustive or comprehensive history of music, I can't really think of any particular group of readers to whom I wouldn't recommend the book.Reviewed from a copy made available by the publisher via NetGalley.
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  • molosovsky
    January 1, 1970
    Everyone interested in music should at least give this one a try.Gioia has a holistic view, and is not ›only‹ concerned with musical techniques, styles and fashions, but with anthropological, social and political aspects.Extremely valuable how he regards themes that rarely find their way into a non-fiction book about art, especially music, about all the ›dark‹ or ›raunchy‹ powers that music possesses: sex, violence, social unrest, defiance, magic, altered states of mind.Gioia is a fine Everyone interested in music should at least give this one a try.Gioia has a holistic view, and is not ›only‹ concerned with musical techniques, styles and fashions, but with anthropological, social and political aspects.Extremely valuable how he regards themes that rarely find their way into a non-fiction book about art, especially music, about all the ›dark‹ or ›raunchy‹ powers that music possesses: sex, violence, social unrest, defiance, magic, altered states of mind.Gioia is a fine storyteller so that this book entertains like a novel about music and humans (individuals and societies) through the last 4000 years. Not experimental, but straightforward, never afraid to speculate or ask questions. Recommended for everyone interested in music, from layman to expert.Listend to audiobook (very good performed by Jamie Rennell except for some french pronounciations … I think) but will also buy hardcopy for notes and further study.Also: one of the books I would LOVE to translate into German if I had the time and/or energy.
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  • Ted Burke
    January 1, 1970
    Fascinating read, Goia does us the favor of skipping the technical comparatives and assorted arcana that interest tech heads and deep nerds and instead discusses, in plain language, the evolution of music in social, philosophical and spiritual context, revealing the need to make music as a means to give direct and immediate expression of human experience . He covers a lot of material here, does a fine job displaying the various arguments over the use and misuse of music has been, and is very Fascinating read, Goia does us the favor of skipping the technical comparatives and assorted arcana that interest tech heads and deep nerds and instead discusses, in plain language, the evolution of music in social, philosophical and spiritual context, revealing the need to make music as a means to give direct and immediate expression of human experience . He covers a lot of material here, does a fine job displaying the various arguments over the use and misuse of music has been, and is very cogent and persuasive as to how various music forms, especially song, developed over time , changing condition, and need to adapt . Some of his conclusions seem a little pat--I am suspect these days of sweeping pronouncements about unbelievable large things such as the history of music--but Goia does make you appreciate the miracle of being able to make music .
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  • Kendra
    January 1, 1970
    Gioia notes early in this book that he's been writing it for 25 years. That shows: his conception of how music history is taught and written about and discussed is about 25 years out-of-date, and his work in this book suffers badly from it. The book would have been a powerful call to action and change two decades ago, but today, with hundreds of fantastic, progressive, new, and radically different approaches to music historiography in practice, both for "art" and "pop" musics, Gioia's work is Gioia notes early in this book that he's been writing it for 25 years. That shows: his conception of how music history is taught and written about and discussed is about 25 years out-of-date, and his work in this book suffers badly from it. The book would have been a powerful call to action and change two decades ago, but today, with hundreds of fantastic, progressive, new, and radically different approaches to music historiography in practice, both for "art" and "pop" musics, Gioia's work is out of touch, and the book's claims come far too late for it to be relevant or useful.
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  • June
    January 1, 1970
    Writing about music can be very difficult indeed--explaining with words what really is best heard with one's own ears. The cultural history of music is equally as complex, with every piece having a wide array of sources and influences, as well as some coincidental resemblances.Ted Gioia has done well at emphasizing the interconnected nature of music as it relates to our experience as humans. The reader gains a kind of bird's-eye-view of why and how we make music, as well as lots of interesting Writing about music can be very difficult indeed--explaining with words what really is best heard with one's own ears. The cultural history of music is equally as complex, with every piece having a wide array of sources and influences, as well as some coincidental resemblances.Ted Gioia has done well at emphasizing the interconnected nature of music as it relates to our experience as humans. The reader gains a kind of bird's-eye-view of why and how we make music, as well as lots of interesting facts that will impress your friends or trivia night competitors.
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  • Paul
    January 1, 1970
    Music can be a tough subject to make interesting, and the author mostly succeeds. This is a long book, but the diversity of the topics covered and their inter-relationships is clear and well-executed. This may be a bit dry for some readers, but the author has deep knowledge and is a good writer. I really appreciate the copy for review!!
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  • Annarella
    January 1, 1970
    A fascinating and well written book that gave me a lot of food for thought and helped me to understand the relationship between the human and the music.Highly recommended!Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for this ARC, all opinions are mine.
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  • Karl Nehring
    January 1, 1970
    Would have given it 5 stars had the author made more of his final couple of chapters, which seemed to be more of a straight overview of the music scene without as much analysis and argument as he had applied to the previous chapters. But I still highly recommend this book!
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  • Doris Raines
    January 1, 1970
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