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David Byrne Describes How Architecture Influences Music


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The Talking Heads frontman gives a fascinating and informative lecture on the importance of structure and setting.

The influence of architecture on the development of musical genres and music in general is a fascinating topic. Especially when you have ex-Talking Heads frontman David Byrne guiding you through a lecture which tackles it from a musician’s perspective.

In this TED talk from 2010, he explains how music from African drumming to jazz to classical composers to anything pop was informed by the architecture of the venues and places it was being played and performed at. He poses the question that if we all create music (or art for that matter) with a specific venue in mind, what’s first—the passion and the outpouring of emotion, or the context of the setting it’s supposed to be presented at?

As a matter of fact, it works both ways—here’s how acoustics inspired ancient architecture as well.