Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Music & Writing

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away...

Oh, wait, that's been used already. Right. Let me try again.

A long time ago, in a bookstore not so far away...

A group of people of or near the age of 14 were gathered around a table. Plus their facilitator. They
 were discussing how each of them had more than one outlet for their creativity, the first being writing (else they would not be there), and the second being theater, art, or music. The second is often tied into the first in some way, shape, or form, as well as functioning on its own. Some of them write scripts to supplement their interest in theater. Some of them draw while listening to others read aloud. Some of them listen to music while they write.

We are allowed (and encouraged) to listen to our iPods during Creative Writing, since sometimes that helps. Even outside of class, I frequently have a window open to my favorite band's MySpace, or have my headphones in.

But what exactly is the relationship between the words in our ears and the words on our paper (or screen)?
Does listening to music that fits the mood of our story help us to write it better? Or is it just the fact that it is music? It's well known that music as a generality is important to humans, throughout history.

In class, I'll often listen to lyric-less music (for instance, I have five lengthy thunderstorm/rain tracks), or I'll put my iPod on shuffle and skip past the ones that are distracting. Sometimes I do choose music that fits my subject matter. But not always.

When I was plotting The Family Business two weeks ago (I think), I listened to the thunderstorm tracks. Not because it was good background sound, but because the opening image of the story is Jake, sitting on his bed, reading while thunder shakes the house.

If I were to continue with that sort of correlation, what would the music be for Clockwork? I've no idea. Back when I was working on When The Sun Was In Your Hair (which is so bad, for a number of reasons, that I don't even want to think about it), I'd listen to, well, a song by the Blibbering Humdingers called "When the Sun Was In Your Hair." (Strangely enough, I'd come up with the plot significantly before I heard the song, but the plot happened to match up with the lyrics quite well). But The Clockwork Experiment?

Well, I don't listen to mood-appropriate music on that one. I listen to ALL CAPS. The music (for those of you who didn't click on the link and listen to some of it, shame on you) is energetic, electronic, "bubbly," and generally not mood-fitting to pretty much anything I've written. The lyrics are also really, really catchy, which usually results in me singing along. Except for when I'm writing. Sometimes I do sing, but I still remain intensely focused. It blends into the back of my mind, giving me familiar external stimuli to shut out all the random and erratic sounds of my house. It works absurdly well.

But I don't know why.
So what is you guys' relationship between your writing and music? What do you listen to when you work? Or do you not listen to anything? And why does ALL CAPS work so well for me?

1 comment:

  1. I haven't blogged in forever....

    I might have mentioned (or not) that I listen to movie soundtracks. If I'm writing epic fantasy, I might listen to LotR or Eragon, even Night at the Museum 2 has an awesome track (Gate to the Underworld). I find Hans Zimmer useful for writing weird, witty characters, such as the Elf, Gryffon, from Witchland (and many other stories). Two songs by Mr. Zimmer I would recommend are Discombobulate (Sherlock Holmes) and Jack Sparrow (Dead Man's Chest).

    There is also a website called freeplaymusic that you might want to try.


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