25 March 2007

In The Mood

How does music affect how you feel and think? For myself, I can't hear "In The Mood" without visions of WWII GIs dancing with a girl from the USO, a fiddle without thinking of a square dance held in a big Nebraska barn or "The William Tell Overture" without thinking of the Lone Ranger. :D

I'm easily distracted and can't listen to music while I write, but I frequently turn some on before I write to put me in the right mood. If I'm working on a love scene, a little slow romantic tune helps put me in the mood, and for just getting me in a 1920's frame of mind, there's nothing like some Louis Armstrong, Billie Holiday or a roaring Charleston. If music helps set the mood for a party, why wouldn't it do the same for your book?

Of course, we're all used to modern music. Despite our different backgrounds, electric guitars, drums and synthesizers have infiltrated the music that's surrounded us for decades. Music from different periods can sometimes take some getting used to. Popular music from the 1920s, for example, can be incredibly irritating at first. Both men and women tend to sing in falsettos, it's frantic, crazy and hyper...much like the decade itself. But, once I got past my 21st century discriminations, I found I enjoyed listening to clarinets and ukuleles. All it takes is a willingness for the unusual and an open mind.

How about you? Do you let music from your time/location influence your writing?

7 comments:

Christine Koehler said...

I'm a music person. I work to music, I drive to music (no talking please, unless it's an audiobook). When I write, I usually listen to something. Oh, and the characters, of course. *G*

However, sometimes a melody will just fit. I've recently discovered the beauty of the soundtrack from The 300. It's fantastic for battles, tense moments, or killing someone off. Also, The Illusionist is a very old-fashioned sweeping melody that's beautiful for the romantic parts of the scene. Strauss, Queen (don't laugh, their Highlander soundtrack is absolutely wonderful! Man, Freddie Mercury could sing.) are all excellent, too.

Sandra Schwab said...

I normally don't listen to music while I work. But when I was writing Castle of the Wolf (set in the Black Forest in 1827), I found that it really helped me to listen to ...

John Denver.

Yup. You've heard right. John Denver. What has he got to do with the Black Forest in 1827, you might ask? Well, there's a big reference to Myazaki's Whisper of the Heart in the novel, and the theme song of the anime is Denver's "Country Roads". Therefore John Denver accompanied me onto my journeys to the Castle of Wolfenbach. *g*

The soundtrack for the novel I'm about to finish was a potpourri of romantic movie soundtracks by Rachel Portman. Since there were also melodies from "Emma", it was a bit more in line with my setting this time.

Lisa Yarde said...

I did some of my best writing on my WIP set in Moorish Spain with Arabic music in the background. A friend of mine brought me two CDs after she made the pilgrimage and they were very inspirational. But for other stories, peace and solitude is all I need and music is a distraction.

carrie_lofty said...

Oh my, I can NEVER write without music. It's essential. I find depth and ideas in the melodies, the feelings that songs foster in me. I have two girls under four years old, and somehow music is a brain shorthand for "you can be creative now." I turn on my ipod after they go to sleep, and all the household obligations and stresses of the day can take a flying leap.

For my Salzburg MS, I alternated classical favorites with modern pop songs -- the classics for the mood and the love ballads for the emotion. For my current WIP, set in medieval England, I'm big into Loreena McKennitt and other folk-ish singers. It's as close to medieval as I can get.

Morag McKendrick Pippin said...

Although music inspires my writing I can't write with music playing. Only sounds permitted: the a/c blasting, the Princelings trilling and purring.
I tend to really get into the music I listen to - which would make it impossible to write at the same time.
I love having the house to myself on cleaning day, gardening day, and brushing the Princelings day (it takes all day to brush those two thick, long-haired, monsters). I can turn up my choice of music and let my mind go into omego mode. All kinds of ideas and inpiration come to me.

Eliza said...

I only turn on music when I'm writing if the music will be less of a distraction than, say, the obnoxious person next to me in the cafe.

I do use music as way to refill the well, as they say. When I was writing Atrocity, I listened to a lot of Rob Zombie, X-Ecutioners, Linkin Park, Godsmack and the like. (The book has some really dark moments, as you might've guessed).

But now that I'm writing YA, even if it's historical, I'm listening to tons of modern rock, EMO and new punk in my down time.

And I do the same thing as Carrie about half the nights of the week. When my husband's gone, and the baby's in bed, I rock out. Best way to relieve stress for me. I always go to bed feeling relaxed, and I'm able to go write in the morning.

Tess said...

Yes, I do - I listen to music from whichever period I'm writing in to help set the mood :) (no pun intended *g*)