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?