How Music Works

How Music Works

Hardback

By (author) David Byrne

List price $38.86

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Format
Paperback $19.71
  • Publisher: Canongate Books Ltd
  • Format: Hardback | 358 pages
  • Dimensions: 186mm x 238mm x 34mm | 1,120g
  • Publication date: 13 September 2012
  • Publication City/Country: Edinburgh
  • ISBN 10: 0857862502
  • ISBN 13: 9780857862501
  • Sales rank: 31,288

Product description

How Music Works is an unparalleled account of a life in music and an explanation of how and why music works from one of the world's most accomplished performers. With his albums for Talking Heads, his work with Brian Eno or his solo output, David Byrne has been consistently at the forefront of musical - and artistic - innovation. In this extraordinary book Byrne explores why the past matters and what the future might bring. From personal accounts of devising and performing his most famous work, to an exploration of the possibilities of new technologies, Byrne discovers that artistic creation is less about an internal creative spark than we thought and more about external factors such as history, architecture and technology. "The universe of music follows broad and basic evolutionary patterns-as does birdsong, to take one example. It seems the will only triumphs if the context is amenable, just as in Darwinian adaptation. What we hear is determined by what we want to hear, by what can be heard, and by the circumstances that allow it to come into being."

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Author information

David Byrne is a Scottish-born musician and artist most associated with his role as a founding member and principal songwriter of the American New Wave band Talking Heads, which was active between 1975 and 1991. Since then, Byrne has released his own solo recordings and worked with various media including film, photography, opera, and non-fiction. He has received Grammy, Oscar, and Golden Globe awards and been inducted to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Review quote

* It was wildly ambitious to try and turn this galaxy of theory into a readable work of scholarship but Byrne has done it, and done it with style. Brian Eno might as well cancel that book deal now -- Mark Ellen The Observer * A very involving read - Byrne is good company - he has a gift for a telling analogy that makes complex points easily grasped -- Keith Bruce The Herald * Incisive and intriguing -- Nick Curtis The Evening Standard * As well as being an investigation into the context in which music is made, How Music Works is an accomplished celebration of an ever-evolving art form that can alter how we look at ourselves and the world -- Fiona Sturges Independent * How Music Works is a melange of bookish musings on how music is shaped by the places it is played and the technology used to create and disseminate it -- Danny Eccleston MOJO 20121101 * David Byrne deserves great praise for How Music Works. It is as accessible as pop yet able to posit deep and startlingly original thoughts and discoveries in almost every paragraph. Not unlike getting your ears syringed, this book will make you hear music in a different way... Every form of music, from birdsong onwards, is considered and elegantly related to form, debunking romantic conceits about music and presenting a far more beautiful rationality. In the process, Byrne shows not just how music works, but how music publishing should work too -- Oliver Keens The Sunday Telegraph 20120930 * an entertaining and erudite book ... this is a serious, straight-forward account of an art from that also manages to be inspiring -- Peter Aspden Financial Times 20120929 * How Music Works is not just a noticeably handsome book but a beguiling and hugely perceptive one too -- Jonathan O'Brien Sunday Business Post 20120923 * A big beautiful work of art... As you might expect from someone as intelligent and open-minded as Byrne, How Music Works is a far ranging and astute look at all the facets of music -- Doug Johnstone The Big Issue 20121001 * Creators of all stripes will find much to inspire them in Mr Byrne's erudite musings on the biological and mathematical underpinnings of sound... His observations on the nature of pattern and repetition, and on people's neurological response to aesthetic experience, apply to all creative fields The Economist 20121006 * Given the vastness of the subject, calling a treatise How Music Works seems intellectually arrogant, but it could also be seen as disarmingly frank, a fresh perspective from a down-to-earth mind. David Byrne's book, although a self-conscious art object (backwards pagination, upholstered cover and so on) contains plenty of plain-spoken, sensible observations: a dichotomy typical of the man Guardian * It's a great book to pick up and start at any chapter, a hugely rewarding and enriching read. A fascinating look at music from many angles, I would receommend it to anyone who plays or simply has an interest in the history and evolution of the musical form, the culture of music, both as a well of inspiration and as a simple commodity Irish Times * An ambitious attempt at understanding a phenomenon to which the former Talking Head has dedicated his life's work -- John Doran Quietus * By investigating how music works, Byrne shows us how best it can be used. We are all the richer for his effort -- Yo Zushi New Statesman * Disarmingly frank, a fresh perspective from a down-to-earth mind -- Michel Faber The Guardian * How Music Works is a big, beautiful work of art ... a far-ranging and astute look at all facets of music ... This is a really rather remarkable book The Big Issue * The finest music book of the year ... Handsomely bound, beautifully printed, wittily illustrated, it would make a beautiful collector's item but there is much more going on between the covers ... bursting with a sense of free-flowing curiosity -- Neil McCormick The Daily Telegraph * Fascinating look at music's power to move -- Alexis Petridis The Guardian * Unique among a deluge of music biographies and autobiographies coming out this Christmas, this wildly ambitious book breaks the mould -- Arthur House The Sunday Telegraph * Byrne is a crisp and enthusiastic guide -- Rob Fitzpatrick The Sunday Times * Creators of all stripes will find much to inspire them in Mr Byrne's erudite musings on the biological and mathematical underpinnings of sound, from Plato to Copernicus and from John Cage to Tantric Buddhists. How Music Works should be required reading for all writers and publishers The Economist * As accessible as pop yet able to posit deep and startlingly original thoughts and discoveries in almost every paragraph ... this book will make you hear music in a different way -- Oliver Keens The Sunday Telegraph * How Music Works in as entertaining and erudite book ... The chapter on the economics of music should be required reading for all 16-year-olds tinkering with their GarageBand software and dreaming of dollar signs -- Peter Aspden Financial Times * [A] wide-ranging tome -- Geeta Daval Wired Magazine * Not just a noticeably handsome book ... but a beguiling and hugely perceptive one too -- Jonathan O'Brien Sunday Business Post * A fluid, intelligent analysis -- Patrick Freyne The Irish Times