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TED Talks Music

Some of the world's greatest musicians and researchers showcase the power and science of music onstage at the TED conference, TEDx events and partner events around the world. You can also download these and many other videos free on TED.com, with an interactive English transcript and subtitles in up to 80 languages. TED is a nonprofit devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading.

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How to find a wonderful idea | OK Go

Where does OK Go come up with ideas like dancing in zero gravity, performing in ultra slow motion or constructing a warehouse-sized Rube Goldberg machine for their music videos? In between live performances of "This Too Shall Pass" and "The One Moment," lead singer and director Damian Kulash takes us inside the band's creative process, showing us how to look for wonder and surprise.

17mins

26 May 2017

Rank #1

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What happens in your throat when you beatbox? | Tom Thum and Matthew Broadhurst

Viral beatboxer Tom Thum has an orchestra in his mouth, but how does he make all those sounds? Get an up-close-and-personal look as laryngeal surgeon Matthew Broadhurst sticks a camera down Thum's throat while he creates a mind-boggling array of noises. This hilarious, somewhat stomach-churning talk and performance is not for the squeamish! (Contains graphic medical imagery)

17mins

12 Mar 2019

Rank #2

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A beatboxing lesson from a father-daughter duo | Nicole Paris and Ed Cage

Nicole Paris was raised to be a beatboxer -- when she was young, her father, Ed Cage, used to beatbox her to sleep at night. Now the duo is known for their beatbox battles and jam sessions, which mix classic rap beats with electronic dance sounds. Prepare yourself for a bit of a hip-hop history lesson, and enjoy the show.

7mins

11 Dec 2015

Rank #3

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Beats that defy boxes | Reggie Watts

Reggie Watts' beats defy boxes. Unplug your logic board and watch as he blends poetry and crosses musical genres in this larger-than-life performance.

9mins

25 May 2012

Rank #4

Most Popular Podcasts

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How I started writing songs again | Sting

Sting's early life was dominated by a shipyard—and he dreamed of nothing more than escaping the industrial drudgery. But after a nasty bout of writer's block that stretched on for years, Sting found himself channeling the stories of the shipyard workers he knew in his youth for song material. In a lyrical, confessional talk, Sting treats us to songs from his upcoming musical, and to an encore of "Message in a Bottle."

23mins

30 May 2014

Rank #5

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An 11-year-old prodigy performs old-school jazz | Joey Alexander

Raised listening to his dad's old records, Joey Alexander plays a brand of sharp, modern piano jazz that you likely wouldn't expect to hear from a pre-teenager. Listen as the 11-year-old delights the TED crowd with his very special performance of a Thelonious Monk classic.

6mins

19 Jun 2015

Rank #6

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A one-man orchestra of the imagination | Andrew Bird

Musical innovator Andrew Bird winds together his trademark violin technique with xylophone, vocals and sophisticated electronic looping. Add in his uncanny ability to whistle anything, and he becomes a riveting one-man orchestra.

19mins

5 Nov 2010

Rank #7

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A flirtatious aria | Danielle de Niese

Can opera be ever-so-slightly sexy? The glorious soprano Danielle de Niese shows how, singing the flirty "Meine Lippen, sie küssen so heiss." Which, translated, means, as you might guess: "I kiss so hot." From Giuditta by Frans Lehár; accompanist: Ingrid Surgenor.

5mins

30 Sep 2011

Rank #8

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A virtual choir 2,000 voices strong | Eric Whitacre

In a moving and madly viral video last year, composer Eric Whitacre led a virtual choir of singers from around the world. He talks through the creative challenges of making music powered by YouTube, and unveils the first 2 minutes of his new work, "Sleep," with a video choir of 2,052. The full piece premiered a few weeks later (yes, on YouTube!).

14mins

1 Apr 2011

Rank #9

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"My Man" / "Bohanna" / "We Dance" | Crush Club

Indie pop duo Crush Club and singer Nicki B bring their blend of funk, house and Latin styles to the TED stage, performing three songs: "My Man," "Bohanna" and "We Dance."

8mins

15 Mar 2019

Rank #10

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What does the universe sound like? A musical tour | Matt Russo

Is outer space really the silent and lifeless place it's often depicted to be? Perhaps not. Astrophysicist and musician Matt Russo takes us on a journey through the cosmos, revealing the hidden rhythms and harmonies of planetary orbits. The universe is full of music, he says -- we just need to learn how to hear it.

16mins

19 Oct 2018

Rank #11

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"Redemption Song" | John Legend

John Legend is on a mission to transform America's criminal justice system. Through his Free America campaign, he's encouraging rehabilitation and healing in our prisons, jails and detention centers -- and giving hope to those who want to create a better life after serving their time. With a spoken-word prelude from James Cavitt, an inmate at San Quentin State Prison, Legend treats us to his version of Bob Marley's "Redemption Song." "Won't you help to sing these songs of freedom?"

8mins

1 Jul 2016

Rank #12

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Teen wonders play bluegrass | Sleepy Man Banjo Boys

Brothers Jonny, Robbie and Tommy Mizzone are The Sleepy Man Banjo Boys, a trio of virtuoso bluegrass musicians who play with dazzling vivacity. Did we mention they're all under 16?

5mins

21 Nov 2012

Rank #13

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The art of asking | Amanda Palmer

Don't make people pay for music, says Amanda Palmer: Let them. In a passionate talk that begins in her days as a street performer (drop a dollar in the hat for the Eight-Foot Bride!), she examines the new relationship between artist and fan.

13mins

1 Mar 2013

Rank #14

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Music and emotion through time | Michael Tilson Thomas

In this epic overview, Michael Tilson Thomas traces the development of classical music through the development of written notation, the record, and the re-mix.

20mins

7 May 2012

Rank #15

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How I use the drum to tell my story | Kasiva Mutua

In this talk-performance hybrid, drummer, percussionist and TED Fellow Kasiva Mutua shares how she's breaking the taboo against female drummers in Kenya -- and her mission to teach the significance and importance of the drum to young boys, women and girls. "Women can be custodians of culture, too," Mutua says.

12mins

6 Apr 2018

Rank #16

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How sampling transformed music | Mark Ronson

Sampling isn't about "hijacking nostalgia wholesale," says Mark Ronson. It's about inserting yourself into the narrative of a song while also pushing that story forward. In this mind-blowingly original talk, watch the DJ scramble 15 TED Talks into an audio-visual omelette, and trace the evolution of "La Di Da Di," Doug E. Fresh and Slick Rick's 1984 hit that has been reimagined for every generation since.

16mins

9 May 2014

Rank #17

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A one-man musical phenomenon | Jacob Collier

Jacob Collier is a one-man band and force of nature. In a dynamic, colorful performance, he recreates the magical room at his home in London where he produces music, performing three songs in which he sings every part and plays every instrument -- accompanied by kaleidoscopic visuals that take cues from the music and grow in real time.

15mins

12 Jan 2018

Rank #18

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Music with a message should be accessible | Madame Gandhi and Amber Galloway-Gallego

"Music is so much more than sound simply traveling through the ear," says sign language interpreter Amber Galloway-Gallego. In a spirited performance, musician and activist Madame Gandhi plays two songs -- "Top Knot Turn Up" and "Bad Habits" -- while Galloway-Gallego provides an animated sign language interpretation.

12mins

14 Dec 2018

Rank #19