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A Post About Music for Writing

Today's post, "A Writer's Selection of Music for Writing," can be found at http://magicalwords.net.  Check it out, and enjoy.

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( 12 comments — Leave a comment )
sartorias
Apr. 2nd, 2008 02:17 pm (UTC)
Ohhhh yes. I need a soundtrack too. I wonder if this is part of being a visual writer, we use that soundtrack.

The only jazz I can bear (I grew up with it around me, so it tends to bring memories of heavy cigarette smoking, the noise of sports on TV, and fear) are two pieces: "Blue Rondo a la Turk" and "Take Five." Though I do like parts of Miles Davis's "Sketches of Spain."

I can't write to classical music for the opposite reason--it draws me in so tightly I have to listen to it. That's why I love movie soundtracks so much, they stay in the background, giving me that ambience.
davidbcoe
Apr. 2nd, 2008 03:03 pm (UTC)
I've actually heard from other writers that they enjoy soundtracks for writing. I'll have to give that a try. Although as the father of still-fairly-young children, I hear "soundtrack" and think "Disney", which is enough to make my ears bleed....
sartorias
Apr. 2nd, 2008 03:13 pm (UTC)
Oh, you are in for a surprise. (I think.)
sleigh
Apr. 2nd, 2008 04:47 pm (UTC)
Like you (surprise!), I am constantly listening to music when I'm working. I can't write in silence -- I want music going. Unlike you, though, I don't care if it's vocal music, since I tend not to listen to the words but rather hear the voice as just another 'instrument.' (This may also be why, despite being a singer, I've always found memorizing lyrics to be a struggle unless the band does the song many times over...) If I want to actually hear the words and understand the lyrics, I have to stop doing anything else and fully concentrate on the song; if I don't do that, then everything I listen to is essentially 'instrumental' music.

I often don't care what I'm listening to, since everything on my iTunes is music I actively like: usually iTunes is set to shuffle randomly, and I have everything from classical to classic rock to new rock to celtic to world to jazz on it (and with 13,000+ tunes, I rarely hear the same song twice.) Every once in a while, for a particular scene, I'll deliberately choose the music -- I have all the various genres collected into playlists. When I was writing the "Cloudmages" series, which was Celtic fantasy, I sometimes popped up the Celtic playlist and listened to whatever was in there.

But usually I don't even do that. If I hear something that threatens to break the mood, I'll just tap the NEXT key...

But music, yes. Always.
davidbcoe
Apr. 2nd, 2008 05:29 pm (UTC)
See, if I hear the lyrics, I start to sing along, and then I'm in serious trouble. Singing and writing at the same time? I don't think so. I also find that listening to music "the old-fashioned way" -- with single cds in a stereo -- gives me a reason to get up every hour or so. Change a disc, stretch my back, walk around the office a bit. I need little moments like that.
jade_sabre_301
Apr. 2nd, 2008 04:54 pm (UTC)
Directed here thanks to sartorias, and I just had to laugh when I saw that Disney soundtracks make you shudder. I actually listen to Disney soundtracks a lot when I'm writing--partially because they tend to be similar variations on a theme (on Alan Menken, never change), and partially because I'm very familiar with them--probably because I am one of those girls who grew up singing along to The Little Mermaid.

Soundtracks do a very good job, I think, of striking that balance between wordless classical music--which can seem "static," I suppose (says the classical musician)--and more active, action-y music--it tends to have themes and motifs like symphony a symphony, but in a less abstract manner because there's an actual physical object attached to said motif (kind of like opera, I suppose, although I've never really listened to opera). And the whole theme/motif thing is something that writing has as well, and so the two work well together. I listen to all three LOTR soundtracks whenever I write a paper for school, but occasionally when I'm doing creative writing as well.
davidbcoe
Apr. 2nd, 2008 05:33 pm (UTC)
Now, I could certainly see myself listening to the LOTR soundtracks. I love that music. Yeah, okay. I can see the allure of the soundtrack thing. I'm going to have to check this out. I know that I'll miss the improvisation, but maybe I'll find something else that works for me.
Again, I didn't mean to slight classical music at all. I love it. But the music I'm focused on here is music for a particular purpose.
Thanks for the comment and for stopping by my blog!
sboydtaylor
Apr. 2nd, 2008 06:11 pm (UTC)
Also here because of sartorias (and the fact that I have read one of your books, and thought it was fun.).

I have to agree, sound tracks really do work. Probably because they have a natural dramatic pacing and remind us of the movie. However, some of my best writing has been to Beethoven. Especially Symphony 7, Movement 2.

80's pop music (the music of my childhood) is also good fuel, since it puts me in that backwward-looking, the-world-is-full-of-wonder mood.

I've recently become a mad fan of really REALLY old blues, but it hasn't become writing music to me yet. Not sure why.
davidbcoe
Apr. 2nd, 2008 08:33 pm (UTC)
Thanks for stopping by and commenting. I should probably try classical again. It's been a while since I tried it last as writing music. Pop, though, just won't work for me. It's the lyric thing.
ogre_san
Apr. 2nd, 2008 08:13 pm (UTC)
Ah. THERE you are, Bubba.
davidbcoe
Apr. 2nd, 2008 08:30 pm (UTC)
Bubba Rick!! Thanks for friending me. And thanks for stopping by the blog. Any cons in your future? I'll be at RavenCon in Va. ConCarolinas, and LibertyCon. Plus WorldCon and maybe WFC.
ogre_san
Apr. 2nd, 2008 08:56 pm (UTC)
Still trying to dig out of renovation hell; right now the only con I've got scheduled is ReaderCon. Though I still have faint hopes for WFC. It's been too long.
( 12 comments — Leave a comment )

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