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TED Talks Music

TED Audio Collective

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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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.




"Say What!" / "Nervous" | Tolliver

A self-described "dance floor demon," singer-songwriter Tolliver rocks the house with a performance of "Say What!" and "Nervous."


How modern audiences can talk about aging art | Margaret Hall

Some works of art stand the test of time; others don't age as well. Using American musical theater as her case study, theater historian Margaret Hall shares a framework of five categories to talk about how art does (and doesn't) remain useful across generations -- encouraging us to address the "growing pains" that all art faces as time and culture moves on.

"Damballa Wedo" / "The Dilemma" | Melanie Charles

Remixing vocals, scat singing and playing the flute and piano, musician Melanie Charles stuns with a performance of two songs.


"Bright Future Ahead" | KERA

Singer-songwriter KERA performs the powerful, entrancing song "Bright Future Ahead," leaving us with a profound message: "Breathe, and go again."


The ecstasy of Eskista, an ancient Ethiopian dance | Melaku Belay

By mastering the Eskista, an ancient Ethiopian dance, TED Fellow Melaku Belay survived a childhood on the streets and became a voice for his country. He shares how traditional dances can connect the wisdom of the past to the energy of the future -- and, after the talk, delivers a thrilling performance of Eskista accompanied by a free-jazz ensemble. (In Amharic with consecutive English translation by filmmaker Mehret Mandefro)


A socialist perspective on the pursuit of happiness | Aaron Bastani

Several crises are set to define the next century -- but journalist Aaron Bastani believes we have the technological ability to meet our biggest challenges and create unprecedented levels of prosperity for all. He shows how we could get there by ditching capitalism as the world's economic operating system and adopting "universal basic services," where governments would freely provide life essentials like housing, health care, education and transport. (Followed by Q&A with head of TED Chris Anderson and public finance expert Maja Bosnic)


"Nice and Quiet" / "One Of These Days" | Bedouine

With her voice and a guitar, singer-songwriter Bedouine creates subtle, sumptuous melodies on the songs "Nice and Quiet" and "One Of These Days."


"Go(l)d" / "Black Truck" | Mereba

Singer-songwriter Mereba delivers a divinely captivating performance, evoking messages of resilience and triumph in the face of adversity.


Why joy is a state of mind | Angélique Kidjo and Femi Oke

With infectious energy, singer-songwriter Angélique Kidjo ties together the threads of her legendary career as a creative force and global activist. In conversation with journalist Femi Oke, she discusses how joy powers her music (and sings an incredible impromptu song), details her work spreading educational opportunities to women and girls across Africa and shares her belief that everybody has the power to tap into their potential.


"Spiritual Leader" / "Audacious" (ft. KAZU) | Ian Chang

Joined by vocalist KAZU, drumming virtuoso Ian Chang thunders through two songs full of bubbling melodies, punctuated by synchronized lights.


What if you could sing in your favorite musician's voice? | Holly Herndon

What if you could create new music using your favorite musician's voice? Sharing her melodic gifts with the world, multidisciplinary artist Holly Herndon introduces Holly+, an AI-powered instrument that lets people sing with her own voice. Musician Pher joins her onstage to demonstrate this mind-blowing tech while singing into two microphones -- one that amplifies his natural voice and another that makes him sound just like Holly.

How hip-hop can make climate action cool | Samir Ibrahim, MyVerse and Kristen Warren

Music can amplify social issues and inspire people to care about new (and sometimes unexpected) topics. But can it take something as dire as climate change and make it mainstream? With artists MyVerse and Kristen Warren as an inspiring opening act, social entrepreneur Samir Ibrahim suggests hip-hop and its stars can help us move from talking about the problem to rapping about (and acting on) solutions.

How a "Hi Level" mindset helps you realize your potential | Cordae

What does it take to build a legacy? Hip-hop artist Cordae tells how he went from mixtape-dropping high school kid to Grammy-nominated music star whose "Hi Level" mindset helps him achieve his dreams.

How Black girls can reclaim their voice in music | Kyra Gaunt

How does music shape us? Digital ethnomusicologist and TED Fellow Kyra Gaunt studies how Black girls can preserve the integrity of their own voices while listening, dancing and singing to pop songs largely engineered by men, often with lyrics that express anti-Black, patriarchal sentiments. In a quick, incisive talk, she shows how Black girls can disrupt the stereotypes and stigmas buried within this music and chart their own revolution in sound.


The rhythm and rhyme of memory, solitude and community | Rosanne Cash

"Music can unlock a frozen memory that melts into the seeds of our creativity," says musician Rosanne Cash. Reflecting on the power of memory, solitude and community, she performs "The Sunken Lands" and "Particle And Wave" and meditates on some of life's most poignant and bittersweet themes.


The 100 tampons NASA (almost) sent to space -- and other absurd songs | Marcia Belsky

Performing two original songs, stand-up comedian, writer and musician Marcia Belsky shares comical commentary on some peculiar aspects of our culture -- from Instagram-stalking your crush to fending off mansplainers on social media -- and lampoons NASA's notorious decision to provide astronaut Sally Ride with an egregious supply of tampons for her six-day trip to space in 1983.


Why all melodies should be free for musicians to use | Damien Riehl

Evoke a familiar tune in a song and get slapped with a lawsuit ... it's a tale almost as old as copyright itself. Lawyer and technologist Damien Riehl digs into why "owning" a melody is a ludicrous legal assertion and composes a radical solution for the musical woes of songwriters everywhere.

The hidden power of sad songs and rainy days | Susan Cain and Min Kym

Have you ever wondered why you like sad music? Do you find comfort or inspiration in rainy days? In this profound, poetic talk, author Susan Cain invites you to embrace the feeling of longing -- or the place where joy and sorrow meet – as a gateway to creativity, connection and love. Accompanied by the splendid sounds of violinist Min Kym, Cain meditates on how heartache unexpectedly brings us closer to the sublime beauty of life.


"You and I" / "Attention" | Charlie Puth

Singer-songwriter Charlie Puth dazzles in a performance of his effortlessly catchy hit "Attention" and an impeccable cover of Stevie Wonder's "You and I", live from the TED Countdown stage.


"The [Uncertain] Four Seasons" | AKQA and Jung von Matt

Over the last two years, a collective of composers, musicians, computer programmers, scientists and activists has set out to reinterpret Vivaldi's "The Four Seasons" for a transformed world, restituting Vivaldi's score in expected climate scenarios for the year 2050. The project, titled "The [Uncertain] Four Seasons," launches November 5, 2021, which will be Youth Day at the UN climate conference COP26, with fifteen orchestras from around the world performing a localized variation during a global live-streaming event.