The Secret Power of Music?

I just started this book. I bought The Secret Power of Music by David Tame years ago because I’m interested in the power music does have. It can change your mood, change your physiology (ie – get your heart beating faster), and as David Byrne points out in his far superior book, How Music Works (More about this later. I’m not done reading it!), can even drive changes in society. I was hopeful that this book held information about research, perhaps something to confirm my thoughts about music’s power. I was unpleasantly surprised…

In this book are some “facts…” though I can’t verify them. I found that I didn’t even want to, because they were packed deeply The-Secret-Power-of-Music-9780892810567into David Tame’s personal agenda. First, he seems to only value consonant music. Anything containing dissonance is considered by Tame to be destructive, corrupting, immoral, etc. Also, it seems like he hates any music made by black Americans, specifically jazz, blues, and rock. They have apparently, through the employment of cacophony and dissonance, brought us to these troubled times… Blah.

He does, however, seems to love the music of ancient China and India, though any reference to the people making the music sounds racist. Maybe my mind was biased to make that inference because of his apparent prejudice. Maybe he’s a great guy, but when I read his words, every time he says “the Chinese” when referring to the ancient people of China, red flags fly.

I gradually grew more angry, so I started digging to find out who he was. What I found was a little weird. He’s apparently not a musician. At least there is zero information about that. No credentials at all to be writing a book supposedly about music. He’s not a psychologist either, or a historian, or a sociologist… He’s none of these things.

David Tame has no right to write about anything musical. Stay away from his books, unless you enjoy uninformed new age garbage.

Later this month, I’ll write about the importance of dissonance in music and I might entitle the piece, More Reasons that David Tame is an Idiot.

6 responses to “The Secret Power of Music?

  1. Just wondering how you know that David Tame is responsible for the website for Temple of the Presence? I don’t see his name anywhere on the site. All I see is Monroe Julius Shearer and his wife.

  2. I highly recommend: “the Secret Power of Music.” I do not agreed with everything in it for sure, but the ideas and sources -there are many- are worth discussing. It is not necessary to give a footnote the Aristotle’s Poetics or Plato’s Republic.
    And I love the Blues and Jazz, but it is silly to think they have NO important impact to emotions and some will be offended.

  3. how sad that i have a great deal more to say about the book than i feel should be left in a comment, and certainly agree that DT makes arguments that have no place in something purporting to wax wise on knowledge divine and human, relative and absolute. which is a shame, because much of what he says has merit (at least for consideration), but then he undercuts his case with shoddy, reductive, ill- or uninformed polemics and criticisms amounting to slander, all of which is meant to (and fails to) pass for enlightened argument.

    for instance: the failure to even consider that the things in pop/blue-note music that may seem evil in one light may actually be serving a necessary purpose in the way of clearing away old and worn-out ideas and attitudes for sake of the new (and that mistakes will necessarily be made along the way, as with concrete sciences), is to my mind a gaping hole that he skirts past walking on eggshells, and whistling all the while. similarly: that tempered tuning may have been all this time disarticulating earthly existence from the Cosmic Tones bit by bit, all its benefits notwithstanding. but tempered tuning has created beauty that his ears are attuned to, so it gets a free pass there, you see?

    so it is frustrating that the gist of the book, the actual, meaningful correspondences of the ‘eternal verities’ (and their extent), gets swamped in the kind of bilgewater one might read in the opinion section of the Daily Mail (however much that bilgewater has a place in a free society). all that said, if you can sift through the bilge for the salient nuggets, the book may well (despite itself) change your perspective on the nature and power of music as it has done for me. i do disagree with much in it, but it has at least brought me to think more critically of what music (many, many genres) i have been listening to. so, on balance, i hesitate to recommend something that requires so much “reading between the lines” to extract worthwhile info, but the info is there to be found.

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