Front cover image for How music works

How music works

The Rock-and-Roll Hall of Fame inductee and co-founder of Talking Heads presents a celebration of music that offers insight into the roles of time, place and recording technology, discussing how evolutionary patterns of adaptations and responses to cultural and physical contexts have influenced music expression throughout history and culminated in the 20th century's transformative practices. This work is an 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, the author has been consistently at the forefront of musical, and artistic, innovation. In this book he 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, he 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."
Print Book, English, ©2012
McSweeney's, San Francisco [Calif.], ©2012