Did it really? The Talking Heads frontman thinks so, and makes an compelling case that our music changes to fit the physical context in which we’re listening to it.  Which explains the rise of a certain kind of hip hop that seems tailor-made for car stereos.

Also check out the discussion threads in the comments on the TED page.


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  • Golden Prince

    I don’t agree with his point yet it is very well proposed. Music for the most part is situational in the way that it is created. First of all, he went straight to west africa and generalizes the whole continent. The music that he highlights is traditional and pre-colonial music which outdates any sort of recorded or amplified music. Secondly, Africa is starting to have access to electricity and has now taken traditional music and added to it with electric guitars, basses, keyboards, microphones, and amplification. Also, cities like Nairobi in Kenya are putting on rock concerts to record numbers of people numbering up to 10,000 people.
    He then makes a statement about arena rock and makes a broad generalization about the type of music being played there. He uses U2, which yes is a medium tempo band with non-aggressive dynamics but totally overlooks other arena rock bands like Rolling Stones, AC/DC, Guns-N-roses, Metallica, or Pearl Jam to name a few.
    On a final note he brings in a non-relative topic about politics which had nothing to do with he original discussion. David Byrne is notoriously known for wanting to be recognized as the scholarly genius type. Wether he is or not is not my decision, but either way; this is a weak attempt to shed some light on how to make this world a better place.

  • You raise some good points throughout. At the very least, his presentation certainly gets you thinking about the relationship between compositions and the spaces in which they’re performed. Whether or not his theories hold up, I give him credit for trying to connect the dots.

    Thanks for stopping by!