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  • Music

  • A Subversive History
  • By: Ted Gioia
  • Narrated by: Jamie Renell
  • Length: 17 hrs and 55 mins
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars (127 ratings)

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Music

By: Ted Gioia
Narrated by: Jamie Renell
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Publisher's summary

"A dauntingly ambitious, obsessively researched" (Los Angeles Times) global history of music that reveals how songs have shifted societies and sparked revolutions

Histories 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, Ted Gioia reclaims the story of music for the riffraff, insurgents, and provocateurs.

Gioia tells a 4,000-year history of music as a global source of power, change, and upheaval. He shows how outcasts, immigrants, slaves, and others at the margins of society have repeatedly served as trailblazers of musical expression, reinventing our most cherished songs from ancient times all the way to the jazz, reggae, and hip-hop sounds of the current day.

Music: A Subversive History is essential for anyone interested in the meaning of music, from Sappho to the Sex Pistols to Spotify.

©2019 Ted Gioia (P)2019 Basic Books

Critic reviews

"A dauntingly ambitious, obsessively researched labor of cultural provocation."—Robert Christgau, Los Angeles Times

"[A] sweeping study...The author aims to subvert our ideas about music history—essentially, Western classical tradition and its contemporary and popular offshoots—in part by removing its pedestals...Gioia challenges notions of progress based solely on aesthetic or stylistic innovation...characteriz[ing] music history as a cyclical power struggle with shifting battle lines."—Larry Blumenfeld, Wall Street Journal

"Music: A Subversive History is by some distance the most wide-ranging and provocative thing he's [Gioia's] come up with... In terms of scope, well, put it this way: it starts out talking about a bear's thighbone that Neanderthal hunters apparently turned into a primitive flute somewhere between 43,000 and 82,000 years ago and ends up, 450 pages later, discussing K-pop and EDM."—Guardian