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How Music Works is David Byrne’s remarkable and buoyant celebration of a subject he has spent a lifetime thinking about. In it he explores how profoundly music is shaped by its time and place, and he explains how the advent of recording technology in the twentieth century forever changed our relationship to playing, performing, and listening to music.

Acting as historian and anthropologist, raconteur and social scientist, he searches for patterns-and shows how those patterns have affected his own work over the years with Talking Heads and his many collaborators, from Brian Eno to Caetano Veloso. Byrne sees music as part of a larger, almost Darwinian pattern of adaptations and responses to its cultural and physical context. His range is panoptic, taking us from Wagnerian opera houses to African villages, from his earliest high school reel-to-reel recordings to his latest work in a home music studio (and all the big studios in between).

Touching on the joy, the physics, and even the business of making music, How Music Works is a brainy, irresistible adventure and an impassioned argument about music’s liberating, life-affirming power.

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How Music Works
Average rating
4 / 5
How Music Works
October 7th, 2013
This book was, while a little desultory, quite enjoyable. It's eclectic content roamed from life on the road with the Talking Heads to a review of neurological theories relating to music. It was all interesting though, particularly the chapter on the business of music which provides real insight into what kind of living one can hope to make out of music and how the recording industry really works. This is a nice fairly light book that will please anyone with an interest in music.
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