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David Byrne’s TED Talk On How Place Drives Music

As his career grew, Talking Head founder David Byrne went from playing CBGB to Carnegie Hall. In this just released TED Talk video, recorded earlier this year, Byrne asks: Does the venue make the music? From outdoor drumming to arena rock, he explores how context has pushed musical innovation.

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  1. Real songs can survive any venue.
    The popularity of the unplugged series proves that. Venue or context affects programming, Technology affects frequency response and access but no more than the selection of a specific instrument does, I am not certain that the venues really impact the creation process, otherwise we would only be able to listen to music in basements and lofts.
    Beethoven was deaf when he composed his last works, the music was in his head and it went from there into our hearts.

  2. Since I saw this earlier in the week, my thoughts keep drifting back to it. He’s got a really fascinating point that keeps unfolding into new ideas and insights. I know TED is supposed to do that all the time, but they’re batting 5% just like anyone else on these internets…this was a rare gem.
    I respect Jean’s purist idealism but the one-word response to that thesis is “Tinariwen”

  3. I got to see David Byrne practice this exact presentation live in Brooklyn, NY. He did a free performance as a practice run. I only just now thought of checking it out how it went on TED.

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