Music Bible

Music Bible
Reviewer: AndyC
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How Music Works:
352 pages
First Edition edition
September 12, 2012
ISBN 10:
ISBN 13:

David Byrne’s celebration of the joy, the physics, and even the business of making music.

Not unintentionally I suspect, the cover of David Byrne's recent book How Music Works, with its padded front and back cover, stark white and black design and hefty feel resembles nothing so much as a bible. Which for anyone involved in making or listening to music (all of us?) it pretty much is.

To my knowledge there's never been a more wide-ranging, stimulating and readable book on how music is listened to and heard, what its place is and has been in our lives, and most importantly, what its future could be. Not surprisingly its scope means that there are aspects of music that Byrne covers which beg for more detail and substance but in this case that is a strength rather than a weakness. He opens up interesting avenues of thought about how technology has impacted on music, and what the dominant influences are on shaping an artist's music are for instance and then subtly encourages you to explore and evaluate these ideas yourself.

Of course as an innovative and consummate artist himself there is a good deal in the book that is autobiographical and written from personal experience. But if you are expecting the low-down on the turmoil that broke up The Talking Heads you'll be disappointed. Byrne comes across as an affable, modest personality, non-judgmental and non-confrontational for the most part. This is more manual than memoir, but perhaps more than anything though it's an affirmation of just how important music is to our lives.

Whether you are making it, listening to it, buying it, selling it, promoting it or in any way using it, and have ever stopped for a moment to ask yourself why and how, this book could answer a lot of your questions.


- AndyC