Music and Writing




It’s interesting to me that there are books out there that come with soundtracks. Perhaps you don’t listen right along as you read, but they come packaged with an album. As a kid we had those read-along books with a tape or, since I’m really old, a floppy, plastic “record”. I still remember the “ding” that told you to flip the page. They had background music as well as the narration.

Today ebooks could make this even more available, with the music playing at the appropriate times. I’m not sure if that would be a good or bad thing. Movies use soundtracks as obvious manipulations. I think writing ought to make you feel horror without the ominous tones to tell you something’s coming or love without the swelling symphony.

Which is funny, because I use music when I write. Sometimes I just like to have some noise going. Other times I use it purposefully to help me get in a particular mood. Occasionally I listen to a “theme song” that reminds me what I’m trying to accomplish before I start to write. It’s a tool that gets my mind back on what I was writing. One of my recent pieces involved a ballet performance of Tchaikovsky’s The Sleeping Beauty. I had that in my ears throughout the writing.

There are exercises out there that use music as inspiration. It’s a simple enough task. Find music, write to it. If  you really want to mix it up, shuffle your playlist and change your style when the music changes. It’s an exercise, not performance, so push yourself a little bit. You can’t fail. You might just find something you’ll want to pursue.

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