How Music Works by David Byrne (founder of Talking Heads) is the second book of the same title I’ve read in recent years. I read John Powell’s How Music Works back in the summer of 2015. That book covers the sciencey side of music. How a note is made and why they work together. It’s funny and engaging.
Byrne’s How Music Works takes a different approach. I think it’d be more accurate to call it “How Music Evolves.” It’s the story of how innovation, collaboration, and business has molded the music we listen to. The story is interspersed with Byrne’s personal experience making music. It’s a completely different book, but it’s every bit as enjoyable as Powell’s.
One thing that I liked about How Music Works, is the way the book is put together. Each chapter stands on it’s own and can be read in any order you want, but it still also makes sense as one work. (Kinda like an album, go figure.) This format allowed me to read How Music Works off-and-on all summer. I’d read it in between other books. I’d read through a chapter when I had a little spare time, but didn’t want to become completely engrossed by a novel.
I recommend this book to anyone who’s interested in music, and the various stages of its evolution.
Disclaimer: I received a free review copy of How Music Works from Blogging For Books.