Music changes the way we view things. It can wake you up in the morning or slow you down in the evening. It can bring sunshine to a rainy afternoon or intensify a scorching day. It can transport you to far off places, or reveal intricacies in familiar surroundings.
I especially love experimenting with different types of music as I walk the streets of China. One rainy evening I was walking past bright malls while playing cool jazz. For a moment I truly believed I was in New York.
A quick change to the Bourne Supremacy soundtrack (by John Powell) and I’m being chased through the streets of Moscow.
Another change to Bluehouse and I could swear I was in Sydney Chinatown.
Music enhances or highlights nuances of your surroundings, even embellishing them in places to fit the tone. This gives you a surprising amount of control over your perceptions.
So why not give some thought to your choice of music? Experiment with changing the style of music you listen to in certain places or at certain times. You may be surprised by the results. Ideas often come from new ways of looking at ordinary things.
You can put this to work in your writing as well. Compile a playlist of tracks for scenes, moods or characters you are working on. Sometimes just the lilt of a tune can help you put your finger on the phrasing you’re looking for.
Have you had any interesting experiences with the power of music?
For more suggestions on how to use music while writing, jump over to Copywrite and read The soundtrack of my muse.
Image credit: Microsoft Clip Art
September 28, 2010 at 11:05 am
I am very attuned to music. I have to be extremely careful which music I choose to listen to as there are some pieces which can set me off in the worst possible way. Unfortunately, these powerful, sad & moody pieces is often the music which I feel an affinity to. If I’m not careful, this music will send me into a depression I don’t want to leave. Fortunately, happy, vibrant, inspiring music will have an equally powerful effect on me.
So having music playing when I’m writing is a very powerful tool for me. As you’ve mentioned, Jessica, it will dull other noises which could distract, and it helps to set my mind and mood into the right frame.
One night, I put “The Battle” from the Chronicles of Narnia soundtrack on repeat for about 7.5 hours (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DEomvJRRhog). It’s a fantastic piece of music, and was very appropriate for the battle I was writing. I wrote about 30 single spaced pages, with very little dialogue, that successfully created the world and carried the emotion the piece needed. So I tottered off to bed at about 3.30am a very happy person.
October 1, 2010 at 3:55 pm
What a great description = ‘Attuned to music.’ I think it describes me as well. I also feel an affinity to the powerful, sad and moody pieces, because there’s so much story and emotion to explore in them.
Thanks for including your writing experience! 🙂 It’s great to hear what methods other writers use to click into gear. 😉
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