Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Music to Novel By.

I like to write to music. Lately, I've been writing to a mix of Elton John, Queen, George Gershwin, Claude Debussy, John Williams, Hans Zimmer, Phantom of the Opera, Wicked, Sound of Music, Beatles, Billy Joel, Harry Connick Jr.... AKA Pandora radio on shuffle.
Sometimes the music I listen to while writing reflects what's actually being written.

After the Twelfth Night was written primarily to the Beatles, because I had just discovered them. This resulted in several Beatles song references. (Can YOU spot them?)
During the rewriting/editing process the music tended to be more on the classical side. And not just any classical music – exciting classical music. Music like Tchaikovsky's Slavonic March or Vivaldi's Four Seasons. Music which elicited strong emotions and reminded me of the crashing waves of the sea. Music that seemed to go with the Ivan Aivazovsky seascapes which inspired some parts of After the Twelfth Night (especially the cover part).

Daniel and Varina's first story is, in part, about Liberace, the flamboyant piano player. So, while writing their first book, I listened to quite a bit of Liberace. Also, around that time, I discovered the genius of George Gershwin and his music fueled much of the book. 
Daniel turned into a piano playing spy and near the end of the book, he sits down at one of Liberace's pianos and plays Rhapsody in Blue.
Since Daniel and Varina are some sort of spy (I haven't figured out what kind yet. Haha), I wrote their next two books to the tune of Music to Spy By, a wonderful CD I purchased at the International Spy Museum.

Now I'm writing a fantasy story and have mostly been listening to the Peer Gynt Suites by Edvard Grieg. He wrote the music to go along with a five-act play based on a Norwegian fairytale about a troublesome man trying to figure out who he is. Many people know the first song, Dawn, and the fourth song, In the Hall of the Mountain King. But did you know that those two songs go together in the same Suite? They don't sound like it.
And today I found another "fantasy"-esque song to write my story to. The Sorcerer's Apprentice by Paul Dukas. What a charismatic song! It's wonderful! Just have a listen.

How about you? Do different stories inspire you to listen to different types of music? Or does it work the other way around? Do specific pieces of music inspire stories? Or do you write better without music?

Live long and prosper.

1 comment:

  1. A lot of times I don't like to do anything else when I listen to good music; I like to listen and focus on the beauty of the music itself. Doing other things distracts from that.