As a musician and music teacher, music has always had a profound impact for me - but I am certain that I am not the only one who finds music influential on the writing process.
When I used to go to my sisters' wind band concerts in Australia - when I've gone to a classical, orchestral concert - I've almost always found myself imagining the story behind the music. Often I would come home with fresh ideas. The music would sort of carry me - break through all my barriers and create new, living paths of story within me. It would influence what tone the character would use when talking, what facial expression the character would have, how the action scenes would unfold, what the supernatural events would look like.
I started listening to music while writing when I was about fifteen or sixteen, and I've never stopped since then. Normally I don't find it distracting. On the contrary, it's helpful.
Soundtracks are, of course, my favourite.
I adore the first track because of its mysterious qualities, its special use of unusual instruments (like bowl organ), and its use of dissonance - all of which make it a perfect track for inventing to. It's not obtrusive, but it gets into your subconscious, and I find it even influences my use of language. I find myself thinking of words that I associate with the music, and they slip into the scene that I am writing, and colour it. Voices in the distance might be "dissonant", and the ring of metal against metal will sound "eerie".
The second track is a glorious work by the much more traditional composer Handel. It makes me think of halls with high ceilings, chandeliers bearing hundreds of glittering candles, long robes sliding over gleaming tiles in slow ripples, kings, lords, priests, and worship. My heart beats faster whenever I hear the introduction.
The third above - from Vivaldi's Il Farnace - is a song of great lamentation, with rivers of pain that run deep. It gives my writing a darker, more full-blooded colour.
The last one I could write a revolution scene to. It's raw, with a very "real" singer. It is delivered with great honesty and no pretence. Notice the rougher sound, which will probably mean that I write a little rougher too.
As you can tell from above, I love listening to a large variety. It keeps my writing fresh, just like reading a variety of books does. I believe that it is important to feed your soul and to fill your mind with a balanced diet.
Music has been a great gift to my writing, and I owe a tremendous debt to a large number of composers. Do you write while listening to music? How does it affect your writing? What do you think about the affect of music on a particular work?
Y K Willemse documents her own writing journey and encourages you in yours.