Saturday, 15 June 2013

How architecture helped music evolve - David Byrne [updated]

Talking Heads’s David Byrne delivers a great TED talk on architecture and music.

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.

Unfortunately, he’s got Wagner’s Festspielhaus in Bayreuth, Germany—which was truly revolutionary—confused for the other music theatre in Bayreuth, which wasn’t.  (It would have been interesting to hear his take on Wagner’s actual theatre, which was, for example, the place which began the practice of darkening the theatre during a performance.)

But he still makes a great point: either intentionally or inadvertently, architecture has “pushed” different musical styles.

Here’s Talking Heads encoring in an arena, back when Byrne was much, much younger [fast forward to 1:44].

[Hat tip Archinect News]

UPDATE:  My Mississipi FB friend George Evans Light tells me Byrne has a book on How Music Works, of which  this presentation shares just a small part.  It could be worth the purchase.


  1. Can we please stop pretending that art school, pop stars know anything about music. I doubt that he can even read an orchestral score.

    And Bryne know even less about architecture.

    What superficial claptrap.

    TED: the venue for pseudo intellectual, boomer BoBos who imagine that they are deep thinkers. They are nothing of the kind.

    It is sort of a new, video version or Readers Digest.

  2. I found this much informative, as to what I was exactly searching for. Thanks for such post and please keep it up.


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