- Paperback: 352 pages
- Publisher: McSweeney's; Rev Upd edition (Sept. 17 2013)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1938073533
- ISBN-13: 978-1938073533
- Product Dimensions: 16.5 x 3 x 21.1 cm
- Shipping Weight: 816 g
- Average Customer Review: 12 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #148,616 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
How Music Works Paperback – Sep 17 2013
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The book [Byrne] was born to write. I could make a good case for calling this How Art Works or even How Everything Works.
Cory Doctorow, BoingBoing
David Byrne is a brilliantly original, eccentric rock star, and he has written a book to match his protean talents.
John Rockwell, The New York Times Book Review
Fascinating . . . 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.
Mark Ellen, The Guardian
About the Author
David Byrne is a Scottish-born Rock and Roll Hall of Famer and a cofounder of Talking Heads. He has been the recipient of many awards, including an Oscar and a Golden Globe. Also the author of Bicycle Diaries and The New Sins, Byrne lives in New York City.
Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.