The Venue Shapes the Music

02006-08-23 | Guitar, Music, Performance | 2 comments

David Byrne Journal: 8.14.06: Duisburg, Germany: The Venue Shapes the Music
The space in which music is to be heard can determine what kind of music the artists create. The physical shape, acoustics, floor plan, and layout of a venue can contribute to the sound. For example, The Kitchen, which was an art-music-performance-loft in SoHo, was austere, reverberant, and echoey. The resultant music, from Phil Glass to Rys Chatham, was pretty spacey and trancelike. Jazz clubs tend to be extremely intimate. The music that results is one of details and an intricate, narrow focus of expression. Arena rock is written to be performed in an arena—it sounds and looks ridiculous in an intimate club. Symphony halls work best for classical music written during a particular era, opera halls…you get the idea.

Indeed. Anything that shapes the sound also shapes the music…

A really big change happens when you fill a venue with bodies! This is what makes a great live sound engineer: the ability to anticipate how the bodies in the venue will change the sound for the performance. I have performed in venues where I hated the sound during soundcheck in the afternoon, but once the venue was filled with bodies it sounded wonderful…

David Byrne also writes:

Is music being written and recorded expressly to cater to the iPod wearer? Is music being written for an audience of one? Private music, intimate, personal — full of details and space?

I always felt that’s what Bjork did with Vespertine. To me that was the first music written for iPod! And I do love listening to One Guitar on an iPod, because even the smallest details stand out… the reverb becomes a hall inside my head…

Thanks for the tip, DK.


  1. Boris

    A good reason to finally acquire an iPod. Speaking of which, I happened to examine a Zen player last weekend + it did not convinve me…

  2. AdamSolomon

    Hmm, Boris, what did you not like about the Zen? I’ve been a Zen man for years and love it :) The iPod is a nifty little device too, though, to say the least. I’m looking forward to checking out “One Guitar” with the Ety’s!


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *



Concert Dates

No items found


@Mastodon (the Un-Twitter)