Sound tracks

Graeme Lawson


Available on back-order

‘Sound Tracks’ tells the history of our relationship with music in 60 detective stories, each focusing on the discovery of a musical instrument in archaeological digs around the world. Taking us from the present day back to the dawn of time, long-lost music is here reconstructed as we enter the worlds of its makers. We feel a child’s delight at playing with a water-filled pot that chirps like a bird in Peru in 700 AD; we appreciate the challenge of a soldier sending signals by trumpet along Hadrian’s Wall; we hear the chiming of 64 bells buried in a tomb in 5th century China. Graeme Lawson leads us on a grand tour of the world’s greatest musical discoveries, revealing that music is part of our DNA – not just in its role as pastime, entertainment or religious expression but also in how we commemorate our pasts and communicate with each other. It shapes all our lives and identities.

ISBN: 9781847926876 Category:


A transporting voyage of archaeological discovery: Sound Tracks unearths instruments from around the world and across time, releasing the past’s musical secrets for the first time.

‘A thrilling journey into the sonic richness of human experience’ PHILIP BALL, author of The Music Instinct

‘A magical book’ FRANCIS PRYOR, author of Britain BC

From the present day back to the dawn of time, from dark caves and murky swamps to open deserts and ocean depths, here is the history of humankind’s relationship with music in fifty detective stories.

We see a child’s delight in Peru in AD 700, playing with a water-filled pot that chirps like a bird; we shiver with a lonely soldier sending trumpet signals to the next watchtower on Hadrian’s Wall; we sway to the stately rhythms of the 64 bells buried in a tomb in China in the 5th century BC. And on this grand tour, we learn that music is part of what makes us human – a way of commemorating our pasts, communicating with others and shaping our lives.

Brimming with astonishing insights, Sound Tracks provides an enthralling alternative history of humanity in which the silences of the past are filled with a glorious treasure hoard of vanished sounds and voices.

‘Piles revelation upon revelation to shed a completely new perspective on the tools we use for making music’ NORMAN LEBRECHT, author of Why Beethoven

‘Lawson has brilliantly conjured up the sounds of 30,000 years of human history’ DAVID ABULAFIA, Professor Emeritus of Mediterranean History

Additional information

Weight 0.68 kg
Dimensions 23.6 × 16.2 × 4 cm










780.9 (edition:23)


General – Trade / Code: K

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