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Corning - Southeast Steuben County Library 1 780.9 BYR Adult NonFiction Book
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Elmira - Steele Memorial Library 1 780.9 B995 Adult NonFiction Book
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Horseheads Free Library 1 780.9 B995 Adult NonFiction Book
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Wellsville - David A. Howe Public Library 1 780.9 BYR Adult NonFiction Book
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Summary

Summary

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.


Author Notes

David Byrne (born May 14, 1952) is a Scottish-American musician and artist perhaps best known as a founding member and principal songwriter of the new wave band Talking Heads, which was active between 1974 and 1991. Since then, Byrne has released his own solo projects on record, and worked in a variety of media, including film, photography, opera, and Internet-based projects. He has received Grammy, Oscar, and Golden Globe awards for his achievements. In 1981, Byrne partnered with choreographer Twyla Tharp, scoring "The Catherine Wheel," a ballet prominently featuring unusual rhythms and lyrics. Productions of "The Catherine Wheel" appeared on Broadway that same year. Byrne is also known for his activism in support of increased cycling, and for having used a bike as his main means of transport for most of his life, especially cycling around New York, where he has designed innovative bicycle parking racks. He has written widely on cycling, including a 2009 book, Bicycle Diaries. In August 2009, he auctioned his Montague folding bike in order to raise money for the London Cycling Campaign. His title Bicycle Diaries made the New York Times Best Seller List for 2011. (Bowker Author Biography)


Reviews 3

Booklist Review

*Starred Review* Most people know idiosyncratic, Scottish-born David Byrne as the front man of that great new wave band, Talking Heads. But he is also an author, painter, photographer, and film and record producer. In this wide-ranging celebration of the power of music, he discusses, among many topics, the early days of the recording industry, various types of music venues, birdsong and whale calls, the significance of mixtapes, the development of CDs, his love of African rhythms, and the concept of creativity and what it means to be creative. But he also mentions his own career as well as the many collaborators he has worked with, including English musician and producer Brian Eno, Brazilian composer and singer Caetano Veloso, and DJ Fatboy Slim. He describes the origin of his twitchy stage persona and acknowledges his own shyness, describing himself as a withdrawn introvert, whose most comfortable way of communicating was, he says, onstage. ( Poor Susan Boyle; I can identify, he writes). At one point, he even self-diagnoses himself as having a mild form of Asperger's syndrome. He concludes by asking provocative questions: What is music good for? Why do we need music? Funding future creativity is a worthy investment, he insists. Endlessly fascinating, insightful, and intelligent.--Sawyers, June Copyright 2010 Booklist


Publisher's Weekly 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. Touching on everything from bird-song and mirror neurons to the scene at CBGB, his wide-ranging treatment analyzes the effect of music venues (he theorizes that terrible stadium acoustics bias arena-rock bands toward plodding anthems), technology (sound recording induced opera singers to add vibrato), finances (he proffers balance sheets for two of his albums), and much else on the music we hear. He draws extensively from his own experiences, as his music shifted from the minimalism of early Talking Heads ("no `oh, babys' or words that I wouldn't use in in daily speech") to complex theatricality; 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: rather than an upwelling of authentic feeling, he insists, "making music is like constructing a machine whose function is to dredge up emotions in performer and listener." Byrne's erudite and entertaining prose reveals him to be a true musical intellectual, with serious and revealing things to say about his art. Photos. (Sept. 21) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


Library Journal Review

As this book's title suggests, musician and Talking Heads cofounder Byrne (Bicycle Diaries) brings the same ambition and wide-ranging focus to his writing that has always been present in his music and visual art. In chapters that function as distinct essays, he explores several hows of music: how technology has shaped its history, how artists can make money from it, and how our culture and surroundings affect our reactions to it.ÅPerhaps unsurprisingly, this broad approach results in shallow spots, with underdeveloped lines of thought and interesting topics that vanish too quickly.ÅYet despite the lapses in rigor, Byrne has a knack for presenting ideas and theories from music scholarship-notably, the still-emerging field of sound culture-in an accessible manner. VERDICT While he avoids focusing onÅhisÅmusical career, Byrne's ability to draw upon his experiences with Talking Heads and as a solo artist to illustrate his points is a clear strength. Music fans of all stripes will find engaging material in this book.-Chris Martin, North Dakota State Univ. Libs., Fargo, ND (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


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