Friday, June 11, 2010

Friday TED Talk: David Byrne on How Environment Shapes Music and Sound

David Byrne is a composer, singer, musician, author, filmmaker, artist, digital music theorist, conservationist, urban designer, bicycle enthusiast -- the list could go on and on. At the TED conference in Long Beach earlier this year, he shared his thoughts on how music -- everything from Gregorian chant to bird calls in the wild -- evolves to fit the environment in which it is performed/heard. He inverts the usual romantic paradigm of "the passion driving the creation", and shows how everything from Bach to .mp3 is naturally shaped by its intended audience:

To make his point further, he conceived of a way to transform an entire building into a musical instrument -- then he invited the public (and other musicians) to come and "play" it. Playing the Building has since been recreated at three other venues, each different.

David Byrne's home page is here, with links to his works in all their genres. More information and links are at this page, and there is also a recent interview with him about his work. Watch his talk in its high-res version by using this link; download it in that and other formats from this page.

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