How Music Works is David Byrne's buoyant celebration of a subject he has spent a lifetime thinking about.
Equal parts historian and anthropologist, raconteur and social scientist, Byrne draws on his own work over the years with Talking Heads, Brian Eno, and his myriad collaborators - along with journeys to Wagnerian opera houses, African villages, and anywhere music exists - to show that music-making is not just the act of a solitary composer in a studio, but rather a logical, populist, and beautiful result of cultural circumstance.
A brainy, irresistible adventure, How Music Works is an impassioned argument about music's liberating, life-affirming power.
Known as the force behind Talking Heads and later as the creator of the highly-regarded record label Luaka Bop, Scottish-born David Byrne also works as a photographer, film director, author and solo artist; he has published and exhibited visual art for more than a decade. He has received Grammy, Oscar, and Golden Globe awards and been inducted to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
* 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