This Thursday, February 23rd, in O’Donnell Hall guest speaker Ted Gioia, will be giving a lecture called The Dangerous History of the Love Song. The lecture will begin at 7:30 and will last approximately until 9. Ted Gioia is an Award winning musician historian, musician and columnist who has written ten books which cover the history of multiple genres of music.
Gioia has spent the last 20 years studying the history of love songs, going back as far as prehistoric times, to learn about their impact. Gioia explained that what he learned through his research is that love songs can often create conflict and controversy; they can sometimes even incite violence. Despite this, Gioia says that love songs have the power to bring people together as families and communities.
Because of this opposition of community and chaos Gioia says that he believes love songs “may be the most fascinating story in all of music history.”
Not only do love songs bring people together, explains Gioia, they have also been a force to expand personal and human rights. Gioia explained that we, as people, have more freedoms today than we did in the past because of love songs.
New ways of singing love songs have always met with resistance, explained Gioia. This resistance comes from all the usual places of “parents, politicians, and authority figures,” said Gioia. He explained that this has been true throughout history, from the ancient Greeks to 300-year-old opera, to it happening in his own lifetime with rock ‘n roll and hip hop.
These historical facts will all be in the lecture. But Gioia is not just going to focus on history, he assured. He wants to use history to show the “important truths about songs that society has mostly forgotten,” Gioia said.
These truths are that music is more than just something to be played in the background of one’s life, Gioia said. Instead, it is a force of “enchantment and transformation.” Gioia said he thinks people have forgotten that songs can be a change agent and a catalyst for their existence. He added that he’d like to show students through his lecture that music can play a rich role in their lives.