Graeme Lawson

Sound Tracks

Sound Tracks

Uncovering Our Musical Past


Here is the history of humankind's relationship with music in fifty detective stories.

Sound Tracks is a transporting and extraordinary voyage of discovery, each chapter a time-machine focusing on musical finds uncovered in archaeological digs around the world. From the present day all the way back to the dawn of time; from dark caves, murky swamps and open deserts to rivers, oceans and the depths of the earth, we can now hear the past release its musical secrets.

As we enter the sound worlds of those who knew them, we rediscover long-lost musical experiences. We imagine the delight of a child in Peru in AD 700, playing with a water-filled pot designed to chirp like a bird; we shiver with a lonely soldier sending signals by trumpet to the next watchtower on Hadrian's Wall; we can sway to the stately rhythms of the sixty-four large bells buried in a tomb in China in the 5th century BC.

On this grand tour through some of the world's greatest musical discoveries, we learn that music is part of what makes us human – not just as a pastime or religious expression but as a way of commemorating our pasts, communicating with each other, 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 treasure hoard of vanished sounds and voices. As if by magic, we find ourselves eavesdropping on lost music across the centuries.