A song whose purpose is to educate.
It need not be strictly educational (for instance, in the context of a work of fiction, it may also serve to further the plot).
Educational songs are expected to crop up a lot in science shows
or edutainment shows
. A special case is when the educational song happens to be a Protest Song
: these tend to be crash courses in political theory, economics, philosophy, or other subjects many find heavy going.
Older Than They Think
, given that there are Older Than Radio
examples of recorded educational songs and many examples written down are much older than that.
Often takes the form of a List Song
- The various children's songs about the alphabet, colours and numbers.
- Hank Green has these with "Protons and Neutrons", "Strange Charm", "Phineas Gage", "The Universe is Weird" and then some.
- The most popular song of 1959 was "The Battle of New Orleans" by Johnny Horton, which was a song that thought about the same battle in 1815 (with some embellishment for comedic effect). The song was actually most popular with teens and college students, which is impressive because it was a folk-country song about a topic they'd learned about in history years ago and it was during the height of the golden age of rock and roll.
- Older Than Radio is "Low Bridge" (Fifteen Years/Miles On The Erie Canal) from 1906, an educational song about the Erie Canal. It was adopted almost a century later by ''Animaniacs and the latter is much better known now due to the "Weird Al" Effect (and the song having become obscure over the decades).
- Tom Glazer and Dottie Evans' Space Songs album had a variety of children's songs about science, with a focus on astronomy. You can read the CD booklet here.
- They Might Be Giants made a few of these. A good example is "Meet James Ensor", which is a song that provides biographical information about the famous painter.
- Tom Lehrer also created some of these including "The Elements", "New Math", and "Silent E"; several of the word-themed songs furnished the material for animated segments on The Electric Company.
- Louis Armstrong's "Now You Has Jazz" is a song that describes how Jazz is constructed.
- Peter and the Wolf by Sergei Prokofiev, which is a classical composition accompanied by a storyteller telling a fairy tale. The educational part is in the introduction, where the narrator explains which instrument portrays which character. Generations of children have learned to identify the different instruments in the orchestra thanks to this musical tale.
- The Young Person's Guide To The Orchestra by Benjamin Britten is another classical composition where a narrator explains how a classical orchestra is constructed by introducing all the instruments as characters.
- Parodied by Avenue Q and the infamous "The Internet Is For Porn".
- New Dynamic English has Jazz Chants, that consists of jazz music with dialogues (except for one).
- Epic Rap Battles of History: Though it's first and foremost meant as entertainment all the battles provide references to the historical characters and/or fictional characters featured in the song. To understand all the references you often have to consult an encyclopaedia or look up more about them.