How Music Works

Front Cover
McSweeney's, Sep 12, 2012 - Music - 345 pages
42 Reviews

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.

What people are saying - Write a review

User ratings

5 stars
4 stars
3 stars
2 stars
1 star

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - BooksForDinner - LibraryThing

A wonderful book about pretty much every aspect of music and the music business. One strange thing though: Byrne numerous times during the book talks about money and whether he made enough in a ... Read full review

Review: How Music Works

User Review  - Chuck Slack - Goodreads

Interesting topic, well written and thoughtful. Kind of like some Talking Heads songs. For anyone interested in the music industry, highly recommended. Read full review

All 6 reviews »

Other editions - View all

About the author (2012)

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 Bicycle Diaries and The New Sins, Byrne lives in New York City.

Bibliographic information