The Music of New York

In David Byrne’s book How Music works, he describes a rather extraordinary 9 year old, Matthew Whitaker who was born 20 weeks premature and weighed 2 pounds, and is blind.

“Every Saturday he travels to New York from his home in Hackensack, New Jersey, for a full day of music lessons, He plays 7 instruments.

“He hears everything as music,” said his father, Moses Whitaker. “The Fax machine sounds like an A. the copy machine is B flat. The jackhammers are making the drum beats that he likes.” When the subway rumbles, Matthew taps his cane on the ground to recreate the noise. He hums along with the city – the fast cars and the fast talkers. When asked to describe New York, he stands and pivots a full 360 degrees, pointing his fingers in front of him. “New York City is full of sound. There is music everywhere. Everyone has a smile on their face. It’s musical, it’s dark and so beautiful”

What Matthew describes is a kind of re-enchantment of the world.”

I almost wish there was a drug we could take to feel like this.  We all need magic.

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