Work Songs and Healing Songs
Work Songs            2006
Healing Songs          2006

Winners of the ASCAP Deems Taylor Award (2007)

“In previous books, Ted Gioia proved himself
one of our most incisive thinkers about jazz.
Now he has integrated vast expanses of
knowledge and recordings from cultures
across the globe to shed valuable new light
on work songs. A dazzling accomplishment.”
John Edward Hasse
Curator of American Music               
National Museum of American History

“Ted Gioia enriches and makes real the
powerful message that music is, and has
always been, an integral part of the toolkit
that ordinary humans have used to navigate
life. He shows that, far from being a pastime
to fill idle moments or a distraction from
everyday preoccupations, music addresses
fundamental issues of human existence,
survival, and liberation. Gioia's work offers
hope to those who fear that the corporate
mass media may have suffocated the age-
old impulse of ordinary people to make music
their own.”
John Sloboda
Author of
Exploring the Musical Mind

“Work Songs is alive with feeling and sensitivity. . . .
The pages burst with intensity and emotion.  Many
thanks to Gioia for a fine book, one that is both a
scholar's delight and a reader's sweet dessert!   
Highly recommended.”

“A stimulating and well-researched journey . .
. . Gioia’s handling of the material is exemplary,
and although he has undertaken an impressive
amount of research and condenses a tremendous
amount of information, his writing moves along with
a briskness and vitality.”
The Wire

"This is a wonderful book.  Work Songs invites the
reader into the best of two worlds—serious theory
and fun content. It is written in a clear and easy style,
sprinkled here and there with verbal wit and passionate
Journal of Folklore Research
Ted Gioia's books and
recordings are available at  Click on the
image  to purchase
For most of the last decade, my
research has focused on the myriad
ways in which music enters into
people's day-to-day lives. These
points of intersection are richer and
more frequent than most realize -- we
are so accustomed to thinking of
music as something that takes place
on a stage or in a recording studio,
that we miss our intimate
relationships with sound and song. In
particular, I am thinking of the use of
music in work and play, ritual and
worship, healing and social
integration, courtship and romance,
and other aspects of quotidian life.  

My interest is motivated by more
than just a scholarly curiosity, but
from a heartfelt concern that the
power and enchantment of music are
being lost in our contemporary
society.  Even the critics and
historians of music, who should be
our guides and interpreters, are the
least sensitive to these realities.  
They are caught up in their own
paradigms of music, seeing music-
making as part of some progressive
scheme or faddish concern, missing
the human element that, always and
foremost, imparts to music its most
salient meanings.

My research will culminate in at least
three substantive works.  My study of
Work Songs will cover the history of
the interaction of music and labor
from early hunting societies until the
present day.  Its companion volume
Healing Songs will explore the use of
music in therapeutic settings.   A
third volume, Love Songs, will
examine the rich role of music in
courtship and romance.