A Drift of Quills are talking to the Head Muse (Department of Music) to find out what—if anything—helps promote the mood to write or inspire scenes, moods, or any other parts of our imagination. What kind of tunes do you think we listen to? We share a lot of things in common; is music one of them?
Ten Tunes That Rock My Writing
I write better when there is music playing.
I dream better.
Thanks to my mom and older sisters, I grew up listening to a wonderful variety of music. Sadly, not a one of us can play any instrument but the stereo. It’s a shame, really. Music is powerful stuff. Being able to play music gives you an even better boost than listening to it, but listening can:
- Reduce stress and depression (and lower heart disease)
- Improve your verbal IQ
- Give you the chills (!!)
- Improve brain functions and actually make you smarter
- Boost your memory (I’d hate to think how poorly I’d be doing if I didn’t listen to music. My memory is completely random access…)
- Boost your mood
Check out these two articles for more interesting information about the affects of listening to music:
And Helen Sanders, chief editor at Health Ambition, talks about using music—and some other techniques as well— to focus in her article here: How to Improve Concentration and Focus in Your Life.
What Kind of Music Do I Like?
Just like with my reading and writing, I gravitate to certain genres of music. When I’m writing (or dreaming!), that selection narrows even further.
I need music with no words—unless the words are in a language I don’t understand. Music with depth. Music with passion. Lisa Gerard is fantastic for her vocals and for her haunting melodies. Very moody. Another of my favorites is ES Posthumus. They produced some amazing, epic songs, and when I’m not writing, hearing them tends to make me dance.
Soundtracks from movies and games often fit the bill, and why not? They’ve been created for moods. I’ve been asked if they distract me or suggest scenes from the original context. The answer is no. I don’t watch the movies often enough to be able to connect a song to a scene, and some of them I haven’t seen (or played) at all. Weird? Maybe I am!
If you imagine that I have a pretty big library of Writing Music, you’d be right. My playlist is 1.4 days long.
572 delicious songs and growing.
How on earth do I choose just ten??? That’s almost as bad as choosing my favorite book.
So I started playing my list for the express purpose of noting and jotting down my favorites. Nothing jumped out at me at first. They’re all good, mind, but I was looking for the special ones! And then I realized that hours had gone by and I hadn’t written down a thing! It wasn’t because I didn’t like them, but because they make such great background music that I don’t necessarily notice them while they’re working away, inspiring scenes in my head.
I suppose if I were going to do this properly, I would have to make separate lists for separate moods: intense music for energetic scenes, really rousing music for battles, sentimental melodies for emotional scenes, and so on.
My playlist is not divided into moods, and I find that segueing from one type to another while I am writing doesn’t put me off at all. If I’m well into the mood of the scene the house could fall down around me and I wouldn’t notice!
The Music: Ten Pieces from the Longer List
So then, here is a too-short selection of my favorites:
- Reminiscence, Esprit Orchestra – Silk
- Pompeii, E.S. Posthumus – Unearthed
- The Sons of Mithras, DaVinci’s Demons – Bear McCreary
- Nineveh, E.S. Posthumus – Unearthed
- The Pilgrim Road, Harry Gregson Williams – Kingdom of Heaven
- Solace, Lisa Gerrard – Black Opal
- Ask the Mountains, Vangelis – Voices
- Space Weaver, Lisa Gerrard – The Silver Tree
- Achilles Leads the Myrmidons, James Horner – Troy Soundtrack
- Extraction Point, Hans Zimmer – Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2
I talked about a few other ideas for staying creative (including listening to music!) here in “Ways to Stay Creative.”
Author of A Hero’s Curse (The Unseen Chronicles Book 1)
Author of the Oathtaker Series
I thoroughly enjoy having music playing while I write. It can create such an emotional environment. Sometimes it’s presence makes for the difference between my simply feeling something internally as I write it—and actually laughing out loud—or perhaps even weeping. I find that my tastes tend…
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How do you use music?
What’s your favorite music to play while you’re writing/reading/studying?