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How Music Works Hardcover – Sep 12 2012

4.7 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: McSweeney's (Sept. 12 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1936365537
  • ISBN-13: 978-1936365531
  • Product Dimensions: 23.1 x 18 x 4.1 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 907 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #61,729 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

Review

"From the former Talking Heads frontman, a supremely intelligent, superbly written dissection of music as an art form and way of life...Byrne touches on all kinds of music from all ages and every part of the world... Highly recommended--anyone at all interested in music will learn a lot from this book."
--"Kirkus" (Starred Review)

"In this fascinating meditation, Talking Heads frontman Byrne ("Bicycle Diaries") explores how social and practical context, more than individual authorship, shaped music making in history and his own career... his chapters on Heads recording sessions are some of the most insightful accounts of musical creativity yet penned. The result is a surprising challenge to the romantic cliche of musical genius... Byrne's erudite and entertaining prose reveals him to be a true musical intellectual, with serious and revealing things to say about his art."
--"Publishers Weekly" (Starred Review)

About the Author

David Byrne is a Scottish-born Rock and Roll Hall of Famer and cofounder of Talking Heads. He has been the recipient of many awards, including an Oscar and a Golden Globe. The author of<I>Bicycle Diaries</I> and<I>The New Sins</I>, Byrne lives in New York City.


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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Just love this book. David Byrne brings all his experience (good and bad) without talking about himself or Talking Heads all the time. But more about the context of it all. How things where, became to be, and where it is probalby going towards, in the music business. Being a fan of Talking Heads, and Byrne himself, I'm sure that was part of my pleasure reading it. (not a throw my shirt on the stage kinda fan! More a RESPECT the great work and mind of this creative artist.)
Enjoy!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is for anyone who cares about the future of music: a well-written, thoughtful personal reflection on music's effects on us as we make it or listen to it. It's also a beautifully turned out example of book design with its elegant padded cover, lots of tantalizing color illustrations and attractive layout overall. And the price is definitely right.
There's a wealth of information in this book about the evolution of the pop music scene from the mid-twentieth century to the present, not to mention comparisons to contemporary trends in classical music and jazz, all described from an astonishingly cosmopolitan perspective. The thread holding all of these things together is the author's exhortation to reject the mistaken belief that musicmaking should only be undertaken by virtuosi and that the rest of us should be resigned to listening only. That myth serves primarily the interests of corporate media barons while leading us to abandon many of the joys of music which we should instead claim as our birthright.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
David Byrne is one of the most original thinkers of our time, and his musical ideas have stimulated and inspired performers and audiences for 40 years. Hard to think of him as a grey haired gent in a suit. This book is the summation of a lifetime's experience and thinking, and should be required reading for any young person seeking a career in serious pop, and for the general reader it is full of insights into the very nature of music and the development of media. The chapters on the business of music, and the ones specifically devoted to the history of the 'Talking Heads' project will be of more interest to the professionals, but the ones on how music takes the lid off the world and lets us see how it works are indeed mind opening. Byrne ends his account with "I like to hear stories and I like to look at the sea. Do I have to choose?" Probably not.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Music and the music business is a little more complicated than what david explains in the book. But it is a good read on trends. If you have time watch his TED talk on music and the space its made for.
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Format: Kindle Edition with Audio/Video Verified Purchase
Does music come from somewhere in the soul, or from the room it's performed in? Is a Gregorian chant made up of long, languorous notes because the staccato notes of a group of singers (or violins, or rock'n'roll guitars) would bounce off the walls and create chaos?

David Byrne's most readable book, How Music Works, looks at the medium of music from multiple angles and asks a whack of intriguing questions. In conversational style that makes you feel like you're sitting together over a coffee, he discusses the academic research -- medical, artistic, psychological -- and personal experience as a lover of music, a maker of music, an observer of music, and twists this object we know as music upside down, backwards and forwards again.

From his first exposure to music as a listener, his first forays into playing in front of an audience, to his life with Talking Heads, this book could be called, "How to be a serious musician in a modern world." He tells of the various song writing methods he's used: writing lyrics first, writing music first, to jamming in the studio and writing lyrics to fit the notes. He goes through, from his own perspective, the various business models music runs on.

But mostly, this book is about art, about who has the 'right' to create it. In his view, everyone. That music making or art making are useful to us all, as a release, as an exploration, as a means to making us all better people.

I would highly recommend this book to anyone who is interested in music, art, or music making.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Easy to read, very informative, helps me see things from different angles. Highly recommend for musicians.
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