How Music Works

David Byrne

It can often seem that those in power don’t want us to enjoy making things for ourselves – they’d prefer to establish a cultural hierarchy that devalues our amateur efforts and encourages consumption rather than creation
How Music Works by David Byrne (Paperback ISBN 9780857862525) book cover

Available as Paperback, eBook

David Byrne’s internationally bestselling magnum opus on the subject of music

How Music Works is David Byrne’s bestselling, buoyant celebration of a subject he has spent a lifetime thinking about. Drawing 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 - Byrne shows how music emerges from cultural circumstance as much as individual creativity. It is his magnum opus, and an impassioned argument about music’s liberating, life-affirming power.

“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

See more reviews

“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

“Brilliantly original”
new York Times Book Review

“As accessible as pop yet able to posit deep and startlingly original thoughts and discoveries in almost every paragraph … this book will make you hear music in a different way”
Oliver Keens
the Sunday Telegraph

“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

David Byrne

David Byrne is a Scottish-born Rock and Roll Hall of Famer and co-founder of Talking Heads. He has been the recipient of many awards, including an Oscar and a Golden Globe. The author of Bicycle Diaries and The New Sins, Byrne lives in New York City.