DAVID BYRNE: ARCHITECTURE & MUSIC

by david byrne from ted.com

As his career grew, David Byrne went from playing CBGB to Carnegie Hall. He asks: “Does the venue make the music?” From outdoor drumming to Wagnerian operas to arena rock, he explores how context has pushed musical innovation. Byrne says: “My own talk (it wasn’t a musical performance) was based on the idea that the acoustic properties of the clubs, theaters and concert halls where our music might get performed determines to a large extent the kind of music we write. We semi unconsciously create music that will be appropriate to the places in which it will most


likely be heard. Put that way it sounds obvious…but most people are surprised that creativity might be steered and molded by such mundane forces. I go further — it seems humans aren’t the only ones who do this, who adapt our music to sonic circumstances — birds do it too. I play lots of sound snippets as examples, with images of the venues accompanying them…enjoy.”

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